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Eustace not ruling out Elections this year

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Even though general elections are not constitutionally due until 2015, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is not ruling out the possibility that Vincentians could go to the polls as early as this year.{{more}}

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, January 24, Eustace said that January has been a very progressive month for the New Democratic Party (NDP).

“We’ve had six events for this month, apart from what we did in the Budget,” he said.

The Party president explained that the NDP accomplished one of their objectives, which was to ensure that all of their candidates made public appearances during the month of January.

“We’ve made sure that our candidates go on radio, face the public and explain what their budget presentations were about.

“We’ve been very active, and there are many more other initiatives we will be undertaking,” Eustace added.

When asked about the possibility of early General Elections, the former Prime Minister said he believes an election could take place this year.

“It is possible. I would not give you the details, but I believe it is possible,” the 67-year-old politician said.

On October 27, 2000, Eustace succeeded Sir James Mitchell as the leader of the NDP. However, Eustace’s NDP was defeated in the 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections which followed.

Since then, a number of local political activists have questioned Eustace’s ability to lead the NDP to an election victory, and some have called for a new leader to be named.

Most recently, political activist Junior Bacchus declared that the NDP needs to refresh itself and may need to commit to a transition of leadership.

In response to Bacchus’s statement, Eustace explained that the possibility of transition or someone else taking over the leadership of the party has always been an open subject to the NDP.

“Our constitution is quite clear. Anybody can contest for the leadership at any annual convention. I gave up the leadership already, but I was re-elected unopposed, and that was just two years ago,” he explained.

Eustace also said as citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, persons have the right to criticize.

“Let them make their criticisms. I will listen,” Eustace said, adding that it is the constitutional right of persons to voice their own opinions.

“If they say things that I think that can get to your mind, I would deal with them publicly,” he added.

In the 2001 general elections, the NDP lost government to the Unity Labour Party, three seats to twelve.

This was repeated in the 2005 general elections, when Eustace’s NDP retained the three seats they won in 2001.

However, in the 2010 general elections, the NDP recorded an increase in the popular vote to 48.67%, winning 7 of the 15 seats in a close election. (AA)