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Barbados - 2018 Elections

A party of prostitutes, a Prime Minister who refuses to announce the election date and regional commentators poking fun at the country has transformed Barbados into a "political circus" with Freundel Stuart as the "ringleader". Constitutionally, the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart has until May 2018 to call elections in Barbados. And he has no intention of doing so prematurely. In December 2017 he stated in parliament We were given five years from February 21 and when Parliament is dissolved, the Constitution says you have to call an election within 90 days and all of that we know. So take it easy. The law is going to be observed at every point. You can be sure about that!

And to those calling for the law to be amended to include a fixed election date, the Prime Minister tossed that notion aside saying, I dont need any law to tell me that there should be any fixed election date because my view is, if the people vote for you for five years, serve five years unless there is a no-confidence motion that brings the Government down"

With the current government holding a majority of one seat, this is an election that could see Prime Minister Freundel Stuarts Democratic Labour Party (DLP) re-elected or Opposition leader Mia Mottleys Barbados Labour Party (BLP) take power. The similar party names (and the similar DLP and BLP shorthand) indicates the differences between the two parties in the past were minor, and the business of government orderly. But many indicators show this election will be different.

While Barbados is small in the global economy, with elections held only every five years, its capacity to change course is more limited than a nation that would see elections for its parliament in a shorter duration of every two or three years. Short-term concerns for Barbadians are issues too familiar to most other nations with jobs and growth being core themes. Barbados is set to experience what other nations have already been through. Beyond the regular rough and tumble of a political campaign, there is a global problem with the confidence in government itself.

Despite the absence of a formal dissolution of Parliament and of the advice to the Governor General to issue the writs for a general election of the members of the House of Assembly by the sole office constitutionally entitled to do so, by early 2018 various political parties aspiring to become the governing administration had begun their electoral campaigns by publicising their proposals for a better life for citizens.

Barbadian economy had struggled since 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. Weak growth and sizeable state budgetary deficits also increased its debt to GDP ratio over the last few years and led to several international credit rating agencies repeatedly downgrading its economic outlook. The BLP attacked the Freundel Stuart led government on its policy of high taxation and focused on policies to reduce the cost of living during the campaign, promising to bolster public services such as garbage collection, public transportation, and infrastructure improvement.

The government also came under attack for failing to contain effluent bubbling up from sewers along south coast roads that lead to many of the island's prized beaches and famed tourist resorts. Though Stuart announced the election less than a month earlier, the BLP had been in campaign mode since the start of 2018. Frustration over the longstanding DLP-BLP duopoly has caused a host of new political parties to spring up in the island of some 285,000 people with a record number of 135 nominees registering to contest the election.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has won the country's 2018 General Elections claiming all 30 seats in the country's House of Assembly and unseating the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which has governed the country since 2008. The result brought the Caribbean island's controversial election day and campaign to a decisive end with the BLP securing the broadest electoral victory in the country's history and with a mandate, which allows them to make changes to the constitution and implement other reforms promised during the campaign. The final result produced a 10-15 percent swing in favor of the BLP, which saw the DLP losing all 16 constituencies it held in the Assembly.

Following a landslide victory, Barbados' first female prime minister was Mia Amor Mottley, of Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The 52-year-old lawyer, Mottley, the head of the Barbados Labour Party, is the country's first female leader since gaining independence from Britain in 1966. Over the past decade, the island had been governed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, a member of the DLP. The BLP leader was involved in a heated political campaign often facing off with the Democratic Labour Party, led by Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

Mottley became Barbados' eighth Prime Minister and the fifth female head of government in the English speaking Caribbean joining the likes of the late Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica, Janet Jagan of Guyana, Portia Simpson Miller in Jamaica and Kamla Persad Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago. Before the big win, Mottley held a slew of ministerial portfolios between 1994 and 2008.

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