After last Thursday’s parliamentary elections in Jamaica produced decisive but unofficial results, the official tally released yesterday confirmed victory for Portia Simpson-Miller of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP). She unseated Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). In Jamaica’s 63-seat unicameral congress, PNP claimed victory by a two-to-one margin—winning 42 seats to JLP’s 21.
Simpson-Miller previously served as prime minister (March 2006 to September 2007), but handed over power to JLP in the 2007 parliamentary election, ending almost 20 years of consecutive PNP rule. When JLP gained power, it was led by MP Bruce Golding, who held the premiership until he left the post in October 2011 due to unpopularity and a desire for JLP to bring in new leadership before the December 2011 election.
Golding’s low poll rankings stemmed primarily from his decision to agree to extradite drug-lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the United States, after a public nine-month campaign appealing to the U.S. to drop the request.
When Golding left office, his education minister, Andrew Holness, became Jamaica’s ninth prime minister. He will now leave the post after only two months on the job—the shortest tenure ever in Jamaica.
On Thursday night, Simpson-Miller said to supporters, “We will be working to move this country forward to achieve growth and development and for job creation. As we move to balance the books, we will be moving to balance people’s lives.” Simpson-Miller will assume the premiership tomorrow afternoon.