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Caribbean island of Dominica to hold election amid opposition protests


Caribbean island of Dominica to hold election amid opposition protests

dominica election
Photo: Tatiana Fernandez/AP

Elections will be held today in Dominica.

The vote comes amid a backdrop of political instability as members of the opposition United Workers’ Party (UWP) push for the election’s cancellation. The UWP is demanding that the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) enact reforms, such as ending expatriate voting and thoroughly checking voter IDs, that would allegedly lessen its electoral advantage.

The UWP has accused the ruling party of buying votes from diaspora citizens by purchasing them flight tickets home for the election in exchange for electoral support.

Opposition supporters have appealed to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) to have the elections cancelled after the country’s High Court ruled that it lacked the appropriate jurisdiction. The ECSC has yet to rule, making the election’s cancellation unlikely.

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The ruling party will not meet the UWP’s demands. The potential inflow of diaspora voters, voter apathy and historical party ties could tip the balance in the DLP’s favour, but with only 75,000 eligible voters, electoral reform is not seriously considered an issue. The rising cost of living and other economic factors are likely to result in the election being decided by a slim margin.

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