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Opposition parliamentarian speculates general elections will be called in 2013

Opposition parliamentarian speculates general elections will be called in 2013

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An opposition politician has speculated about general elections, constitutionally due in 2015, being called next year.{{more}}

South Leeward representative Nigel Stephenson further said at a New Democratic Party (NDP) rally Thursday that he was informed that the issue was discussed at a recent meeting of Cabinet.

“We have more than white angels,” Stephenson told the gathering at Sion Hill.

He also said that the Dr Ralph Gonsalves administration, which was re-elected to a third term in December 2010, was also discussing the introduction of two additional constituencies, a move that stirred controversy when it was attempted in 2010.

“I know about it, so don’t think what I am saying is any secret,” Stephenson said.

He said that the focus was on South Leeward and East St George.

“They want to cut it in two,” he said.

But there was very little for the supporters of the NDP to worry about he said because “there will be a glorious morn when the New Democratic Party is returned to office.”

In 2010, the Gonsalves government attempted to increase from 15 to 17 the number of constituencies here.

On August 24, 2010 High Court judge Gertel Thom ruled in favour of the NDP, which had filed an injunction to prevent the publication of the Boundaries Commission’s report in the official gazette.

This, after a bill to increase the number of constituencies was successfully passed in Parliament in March 2010, which would have seen an increase from the existing 15 constituencies to 17.

Gonsalves argued then that under the existing constitution, his administration had the power to change the number of electoral seats.

He also argued that the new piece of legislation was not intended to provide any advantage to the ruling Unity Labour Party in the general elections.

Gonsalves told Parliament that this was the same argument former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell used in 1986 when the NDP increased the number of seats from 13 to 15.

However, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace responded saying that he did not agree with the prime minister.

Eustace said the circumstances in 1986 were different from those in 2010, in that the population was growing in 1986. (DD)

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