Dominicans go to the polls on December 6 to elect a new government after Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Tuesday night announced that he had advised President Charles Savarin to dissolve the Parliament on Wednesday in preparation for the poll that was constitutionally due by March next year.
“The time has come for you to decide who will lead the country in 2020 and for the first half of the third decade of the 21st century,” Skerrit said, urging supporters of his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) to go out and vote on election day.
“Elections are very serious business. It matters whether you vote or not on election day. It matters which party wins or not. It matters which party leads the country in the third decade of the 21st Century. You each have a responsibility to get out there and vote,” said Skerrit, who is seeking to become the first prime minister here to win four consecutive general elections.
He said that Nomination Day will be November 19.
The DLP will face a challenge from the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) headed by Opposition Leader Lennox Linton. The party won six of the 21 seats in the last general election in 2014.
Skerrit said that he is hoping the campaign will be conducted in an atmosphere of civility and peace.
‘The choice is yours, ladies and gentlemen. We need to put Dominica first in all that we do,” he said, reminding the country that not voting is tantamount to “turning your back on a process that charges the path for the country for the next five years.
“Five years is a short time if you have the right person in government, five years is a very, very long time if you have the wrong person,” he added.
Skerrit is campaigning on a promise of continued good government, improved socio-economic conditions and the construction of a new international airport funded by China, while the UWP is pointing to corruption within the Skerrit-led administration and urging Dominicans to allow them to steer the island into a new development path.
The opposition had called for electoral reform, including the issuance of voter identification cards ahead of the polls.
Last month, the Electoral Office of Dominica (EOD) urged voters to inspect the preliminary voters list that had been published, noting that the preliminary list had been placed at each of the more than 100 polling stations in the 21 electoral districts in keeping with the requirements of the Registration of Electors Act, the Electoral Office has placed physical
Chief Elections Officer Ian Michael Anthony said he was urging voters to ensure that they examine the list and assist the Electoral Office with making updates before the November 19th deadline for accepting Claims and Objections before the publication of the final Register of Electors at the end of next month.
In the 2014 general election, 41 046 ballots were cast.