Dominica opposition shuns election, seeks boycott

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Opposition leaders in Dominica are boycotting the newly chosen Parliament, alleging fraud and other irregularities in last week’s elections.

The Dominica Labor Party won 18 of 21 seats Friday, giving Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit a second five-year term.

United Workers Party leader Ron Green said Tuesday that voters were bribed and opposition parties were denied access to state news media. He provided no examples. The party is calling for new elections.

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A team from the Organization of American States called the elections free and fair, although mission chief Steven Griner said he would recommend that voter identification cards be introduced for the next elections.

The small Caribbean island of 72,000 people has more than 67,000 registered voters.

Skerrit said he has already ordered that officials create a new voter registration list following concerns that it is outdated.

The new Parliament has not said when it will convene, although it has three months to do so.

Skerrit, a 37-year-old University of Mississippi graduate, expects to name his Cabinet next week. He has strengthened ties with Venezuela, recently signing a deal to export water and proposing to sell geothermal power to Caribbean nations to help boost the island’s economy.