Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness won big in his bet on early elections as his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) captured 49 of 63 seats in Parliament, swamping the rival People’s National Party (PNP).
Addressing the nation on a virtual livestream after the PNP conceded defeat Thursday evening, September 3, Holness congratulated Jamaicans for a smooth and fair election held amid restrictions aimed at stifling the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tonight the victor is the people of Jamaica,” he declared. “What it says to me is that the Jamaican people are maturing in their outlook; they understand that populist policies can have destructive impact on the national good.”
The party won despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases that has threatened several years of strong economic growth. Debt had been shrinking, unemployment hit a record low and the stock market was booming.
The JLP focused on pledges to rebuild the economy from the fallout of the pandemic, which has damaged tourism and exports. The PNP focused on providing social programs to assist the most vulnerable, including students, poor and working-class Jamaicans.
Elections weren’t constitutionally due until February 2021, but on August 11, Holness called for a new general vote.