Above: incoming Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne
By Alexander Britell
The Opposition Antigua Labour Party has won the country’s general election, according to preliminary election results.
In a national address early Friday morning, outgoing Prime Minister Dr Baldwin Spencer conceded the election, thanking his colleague candidates and his supporters and wishing the new government great success.
The ALP, led by party leader and incoming Prime Minister Gaston Browne, won at least 11 seats against Spencer’s United Progressive Party, according to early reporting from the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission.
Preliminary results showed the ALP with at least 58 percent of the overall vote.
In a something of an upset, the Barbudan People’s Movement lost the Barbuda constituency to the ALP, as several current Ministers also lost their constituencies, including Finance Minister Harold Lovell.
The win represents a paradigm shift for Antigua and Barbuda, which had been led for 10 years by the UPP, following a sweeping victory in the 2004 election and a more moderate majority victory in 2009.
“The reality is, that the people of this country would have spoken, and they would have made their decision, that decision has to be accepted and i have accepted the verdict of the people of Antigua and Barbuda at this time,” Spencer said. “I wish the new government well, and I say so with all sincerity, because as far as I am concerned, what is important now is for us to come together as a nation — let the healing begin almost instantly and bring this country together in the interest in the future of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Spencer said “the future of Antigua and Barbuda still remains in our hands as a people and we need to do what is right and what is good for the future of Antigua and Barbuda.”
“I have to say that, to some extent, I did not anticipate that the results would have been this way, however, the people themselves are the ones who are charged with the responsibility of making these important decisions,” Spencer said. “And I have to accept that and work with that. And also to ensure that whatever contribution that I can make to ensure that good governance of this country remains.”
There were a total of 17 seats in play in Thursday’s election.