Opposition parties preparing for early elections

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Joanne Massiah, head of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) says she will not let the prime minister lull her party into a false sense of security with regards to the date for the next general election.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the election would come like a thief in the night, which many took to mean that the date would be called before the five year expiration.

However, the prime minister has said that at no point did he say he was calling early polls.

He said it is quite surprising that two of the opposition parties have said that they are in a state of readiness for elections, which he has up until June 2019 to call, or as late as September 2019.

But Massiah said the nation should prepare for elections in 2018.

Massiah said based on intelligence, elections should be called sometime next year.

“Perhaps more than any other party in Antigua and Barbuda, the Labour Party (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) has this uncanny ability to come together, they have really perfected the kumbaya song, so whatever their internal issues may be we have seen them for years seem to come together to ban together, so whatever the current issues are, I believe they are readying themselves, they are convening their convention because elections are coming next year, and early next year based on our information is when the prime minister intends,” Massiah said.

The DNA head said the country should pay attention to things that are happening within the ABLP and the country on a whole. 

She said having been studying politics in Antigua and Barbuda, the ABLP is not known to convene its convention so early ahead of a general election, which is constitutionally due in 2019. The party has, however, cancelled the convention set for this month.

Massiah said another telltale sign that the nation will go to the polls early is the fact that members of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) , including the chairman have been out educating the public on certain issues.

“…all of a sudden they (ABEC) are in the public domain…This does not happen unless an election is imminent. So there are no secrets in Antigua and Barbuda and so I believe that his (the prime minister’s) statements yesterday are intended to throw people off, but persons studying politics in Antigua understand that perhaps he is little concerned that his strategy of coming like a thief in the night has been really exposed

“So we are readying ourselves in the DNA for an election in 2018, if it comes in 2019 the better for all of us…Bring it on…” Massiah said.

The DNA head noted that the party, in preparation for the early polls, has been encouraging people to get registered, and taking those to registration centres who require the assistance. She is also encouraging those with lost voter identification cards to get them replaced immediately.

Massiah said the DNA will field candidates in all 17 constituencies, but only four have been made public. The party will unveil the other 13 members over the coming months, “two or three” before the end of this month.

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