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No Christmas elections

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2015 | 10:00 AM

With Jamaicans having been called on in 2011 to go to polling stations four days after Christmas to vote for a new Government, Paul Burke, the general secretary of the governing People's National Party (PNP), says no Christmas election is on the cards this year.

"We will not be holding any elections in the Christmas period," Burke told The Gleaner yesterday, even while being mindful that the job of announcing an election rests constitutionally with the prime minister.

"The People's National party does not hold elections in the Christmas season," said Burke, who defines that period as being similar to the 12 days of Christmas.

The 12 days of Christmas start with Christmas Day and end with the eve of Epiphany on January 5.

"In that period, we would never consider calling an election," Burke said.

In the 16 general elections held since the granting of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, six of them were held in December. Two of those elections were called by the PNP (December 15, 1976 and December 18, 1997) and the party won.

 

JAB AT OPPOSITION

Burke said that the 1997 election, which was called by former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson was "very close" to the Christmas period and Burke threw a jab at the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), saying "we won't be having any December 29".

JLP Leader Andrew Holness, as prime minister, announced the 2011 general election for December 29, saying: "Remember, I told you we were not going to trouble your Christmas".

Burke, meanwhile, said he did not know when the election would be held, but stressed that "we are preparing ourselves to give our party president all her options".

"I am confident that when she calls the election, it will be at a very advantageous period for the PNP, and we expect to win," Burke said.

The PNP general secretary, however, said the party has "a lot of work to do", even as he said: "We are very confident about what we have to do and what will be the outcome. We are not thinking of losing."