KINGSTON — Jamaicans will go to the polls on February 25, incumbent Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has announced.
Simpson-Miller made the declaration at a mass rally of the People’s National Party in Half-Way Tree, St. Andrew last night.
Parliament will be dissolved on February 5, and candidates’ Nomination Day will be February 9.
Simpson-Miller became Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister for a brief stint between March 2006 and September 2007, following the resignation of the then-Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson. February 25 symbolically marks the 10th anniversary of that first milestone.
Simpson-Miller received her first mandate from the electorate when the People’s National Party defeated the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in December 2011 elections, when the latter took a severe political hit in a saga involving Kingston drug-baron, Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
The Coke affair — which is still the subject of a commission of enquiry — claimed the political career of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding. He was succeeded briefly by Andrew Holness, who completed the JLP’s term until his party’s defeat by Simpson-Miller’s PNP.
At the time, political analysts believed that the Coke saga favoured a swing to the PNP, which took 42 of the 63 seats in Jamaica’s House of Representatives. Still, 15 of the PNP’s 42 seats were won with a margin of 1,000 votes or fewer.
The PNP’s roll of candidates for the current election includes 13 women, and 21 newcomers to elective politics.
JLP leader Andrew Holness was reportedly unmoved by the announcement, saying that his party had been ready for elections since September.
AMG will be providing on-the-ground coverage from Jamaica as the election campaign further unfolds.