Jamaica ruling party wins by-election

AP News
|
Posted: Apr 05, 2011 4:33 PM
Jamaica ruling party wins by-election

Prime Minister Bruce Golding's party reinforced its narrow parliamentary majority by winning a by-election called after a governing party lawmaker acknowledged he held U.S. citizenship in violation of constitutional rules.

Jamaica Labor Party candidate Everald Warmington coasted to victory in Monday's election in southwest St. Catherine parish, capturing 64 percent of the vote, according to the island's electoral office. His closest opponent trailed by 30 percentage points.

Warmington's win re-established a 32-28 parliamentary majority for Labor.

The Jamaican-born Warmington, first elected in 2007, didn't acknowledge having U.S. citizenship until last month, when he resigned. He then gave up his U.S. passport and joint citizenship.

Under this former British colony's law, anyone with allegiance to a non-Commonwealth country is prohibited from serving in the legislature.

The vote was the fifth by-election since 2007 involving governing party legislators with dual citizenship. The party won all five.

The People's National Party, the island's main opposition party, boycotted the Monday vote in the St. Catherine parish district, which is a Labor bastion.

The dual citizenship rule was ignored for decades and political analysts believe many dual citizens have served, without controversy, in Jamaica's legislature. But political jockeying over dual citizenship has become increasingly frequent.