In Jamaica the Peoples National Party has won the general elections, the party took an early lead as the results began to come in.
It will be Portia Simpson- Miller who will lead the country into the New Year.
But what started as an early lead turned into more than that as the party pushed past the 30 seat mark whilst the JLP was struggling to break the 20 mark.
Some 63 seats across the island were contested, up from 60 in the last election in 2007. The competition was between the two major parties the Jamaica Labour Party JLP, led by Andrew Holness and the People’s national party the PNP, led by Portia Simpson – Miller. Independent candidates and representatives of the Marcus Garvey Political Party and the National Democratic Movement also contested the poll.
Unemployment, crime, education and the economy were among the major issues on people’s minds as they went into this vote that saw campaigning before and after the Christmas holiday.
Political parties campaigned to bolster their established support and to appeal, to the don’t know which party to vote for and the don’t know whether they will vote or not.
Both party leaders were hoping to get their first term as an elected prime minister both leaders had taken over from incumbent prime ministers. Portia Simpson – Miller failed in her first bid in 2007 and newly appointed Prime Minister Andrew Holness was taking part in his first election with the possible prize of a mandate from the electorate for him as prime minister. But it was not to be, instead Jamaica’s first woman Prime Minister Portia Simpson – Miller will return to that post this time with an election win behind her.
Commentators are looking at the quality of the win and if voters voted the party in or the JLP out.
Now as Jamaica approaches its fiftieth year of independence, it is the PNP that will take the country into the next era of independence and the JLP will return to opposition.
Just as the challenges the nation faced as it approached independence in 1962 were great, so fifty years on challenges remain some that relate to a new time and a new generation and others that are fundamental and despite the passage of the years still remain to be addressed.
The new government will have its work cut out for it and the electorate will likely watch to see if the promises of the party will pan out.