Tue | Aug 21, 2018

No advantage to calling elections

Published:Friday | April 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Your editorial of Wednesday, April 19, 2017 titled 'Get going on fixed election date' stated, in part "Indeed, the calling of general elections has been the personal plaything of prime ministers, a creature of whim and ego to secure partisan political advantage over parliamentary Oppositions."

A cursory look at the election history in Jamaica between April 10, 1962 and February 25, 2016 reveals that there have been 13 general elections. Of these, the governing party won 6. This means that the leader of the party calling a general election has lost seven of these elections. On the face of it, there does not seem to be a significant incumbency advantage for the party calling the election since that party has lost more than it has won.

Only in the case of the December 15, 1983 election when the Opposition party boycotted the general election has there been a clear and demonstrated decisive advantage to the prime minister.