June 6, 2016
The new government will most likely look to leave ALBA, a progressive trade bloc seen as an alternative to U.S.-led free trade agreements.
St. Lucia’s conservative United Workers Party beat the incumbent Labour Party in general elections Monday.
Former Prime Minister Kenny Anthony conceded defeat and congratulated new Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on his victory in the June 6 vote after the opposition party won 11 seats to Labour’s six.’
Chastanet is a businessman who previously served as tourism minister on the Caribbean island, known for its steep, emerald-colored hills and luxury resorts.
The campaign focused on efforts to reduce unemployment, attract foreign investment and boost the economy.
Early general elections in the best interest of peace
The elections are taking place a year before the constitutional deadline, mainly due to the opposition’s pressure on the current government.
“I have decided to set forward the general election several months, as it is in the best interest to ensure peace, stability and security in the country,” said Prime Minister Kenny Anthony when he announced the move a few weeks back.
The main political forces on the island are the left-leaning Saint Lucia Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, and the center-right United Workers’ Party, led by businessman Allen Chastanet.
The Saint Lucia People’s Movement and the Green Party also put forward candidates for prime minister, and there are four other independent candidates who competed for the top job.
Progress made under the Labour Party
Under the Labour Party, Saint Lucia has made progress in tackling the deficit, boosting tourism and improving education. The country also joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA, a progressive trade bloc seen as an alternative to U.S.-led free trade agreements.
The new government will most likely look to leave ALBA and turn more toward the U.S.
The United Workers Party has a more conservative stance on issues like abortion, LGBT rights and international relations
In the previous general elections in 2011, Labour Party won 11 electoral districts, and the opposition United Workers’ Party won six.
Saint Lucia is located a few hundred miles off the coast of Venezuela