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There is no minority government in SVG – These are the facts!

There is no minority government in SVG – These are the facts!

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EDITOR: Let the truth be told, these are the facts: There is no crisis of governance and no minority government in office in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Since Universal Adult Suffrage of 1951 there have been 16 General Elections in SVG and there has never been a minority government in office in SVG.

If you are interested in knowing how a minority government is constituted, please reference the Federal Parliament of Canada after their October 21, 2019 Federal Elections. For completeness here are the basic facts: The Liberal Party in Government in Canada with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a minority government because it is governing with 157 seats of the 338 seats in the Federal Parliament. The combined opposition in the Federal Parliament has a total of 181 seats. The governing Liberal Party received less than 35 per cent of the popular vote. To bring this matter a little closer to “home,” the Donald Trump administration of the Republican Party is *NOT* a minority Government despite the fact that it received approximately three million votes fewer than the Democratic Party Candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential Elections. Donald Trump received 306 while Hillary Clinton received 232 of the 538 Electoral College votes… think about this in our context as constituencies.

Of the 16 General Elections held in SVG, seven have resulted in the governing Party/Coalition (in the form of the PPP-Joshua Mitchell administration) receiving fewer votes than the opposition. However none of these were minority governments. The collapse of the Mitchell / PPP administration in 1974 that resulted in “early” General Elections, a mere two years into the life of the government was not because the Administration had fewer votes than the Opposition, it simply did not command the majority of the seats in the Parliament to continue to govern. None of the seven Parties/Coalitions that have been in Government in SVG since 1951 with fewer votes than the combined opposition have been minority governments. These Governments all had more seats than the combined seats of the Opposition.
Here are the facts: Subsequent to the General Elections of 1957, the PPP (Peoples Political Party) Administration ruled with a 5 to 3 seat majority with 256 votes fewer than the Opposition St Vincent Labour Party (SVLP). In 1961, the PPP won the elections 6 seats to 3 and obtained 318 votes fewer than the SVLP. Interestingly, it won with an increased majority in the Parliament but still did not win the popular vote. In 1966 the SVLP won 5 seats to 4 with 533 votes fewer than PPP. In 1972, the PPP/Mitchell Administration governed with 7 of the 13 available seats in the Parliament with 238 votes fewer than the Opposition SVLP. In 1998 the NDP won 8 seats to 7 with 4816 votes fewer than the Opposition Unity Labour Party (ULP). The term of office of this government was shortened, but this was not because it had fewer votes than the Opposition ULP. And most recently, the ULP won the General Elections 9 seats to 6 with 484 votes fewer than the Opposition NDP.

For those who may wish to look beyond the number of seats won it is important to highlight the margins in the popular vote when the party with the majority to govern did not win the popular vote. 1957: 256 votes; 1961: 318 votes; 1966: 533 votes; 1972: 269 votes; 1998: 4,816 votes; 2020: 484 votes.

In conclusion, there is no minority Government in SVG and there is no crisis of Governance resulting from the General Elections of 2020. The ULP won the majority of seats, it won the Elections and the right to exercise the powers of governance in SVG.

Teresa’s Son

N.B: data for this analysis was taken from website: Caribbeanelections.com

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