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New leader of St Lucia UWP to be known today

Published:Sunday | July 28, 2013 | 11:31 AM

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jul 27, CMC - The outcome of an intense battle for leadership of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP)over the past few weeks will be known today as delegates cast their vote for a political leader and the person most likely to lead the party into general elections constitutionally due in 2016.

When some 325 UWP delegates from the islands 17 constituencies vote today, their focus will be on a two horse race between incumbent leader and leader of the Parliamentary opposition, Stephenson King and former senator and minister for tourism, Allen Chastanet.

Since he declared his intention to vie for the leadership of the party several weeks ago, a contest between supporters of Chastanet and King has been raging via the local media. Campaigning has also been fierce on the ground, on social media and even among some opposition parliamentarians, most of whom appear to favour a change in leadership.

Former communications and works minister Guy Joseph, the representative for South Castries told a television audience Friday that supporters of the ruling St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) were campaigning for King and he was approached by members of that party to do what he can to ensure that Chastanet does not win.

Former agriculture Minister Ezekiel Joseph, who is contesting the position of party Chairman against Rufus Bousquet who held the foreign affairs ministry, told reporters that all but two opposition parliamentarians were supporting Chastanet while the majority of the 17 island councils were also in support of giving the party a new direction.