St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – On the heels of the two-year mark of the current administration in June, a possible snap election looms.
After several public exchanges, addresses, two meetings, an ultimatum, and continued public commentators suggesting that the people need to go back to the polls, the Federation awaits news of what is next for the country’s political landscape.
Just as the nation waits for the now expected announcement of a snap election, so does the region with several media houses covering the political climate in St. Kitts and Nevis, with the hot button being the end of the Team Unity Coalition.
What is the likely turnout of a snap election in the Federation?
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) recently announced a full slate of candidates for all eight constituencies in St. Kitts, the only of the three parties in St. Kitts to do so this year.
There are unsubstantiated rumours of the other two parties, the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the Peoples Labour Party (PLP), having candidates for all eights constituencies.
Regional Political Analyst Peter Wickham said a snap election right now is hard to predict when you consider the estimated 12,000 overseas voters excluded from the last General Elections in 2020. There is no certain scenario with a single political party securing a majority to win the election.
“When those overseas workers return, it can be a lethal force bearing in mind that you have margins of less than 100 in many instances. We have planes that can seat 300. So, I am a bit concerned that the presumption that PAm is making that the status quo will be retained may not necessarily be realistic. And look, you have an opposition [the] St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party that has two seats. If the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party gains a third seat, it is a problem. And basically, once you have three seats in a configuration like theirs, with eight and three, you basically have a peculiar situation emerging, and St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party again becomes a player in the scheme of things,” said Wickham during an interview with Calistra Farrier on the Narrative last evening (April 20).
Wickham shared that the PAM can retain the status quo with the current configuration if they can hold three seats and form the federal government with the CCM.
“I think the CCM is in a peculiar situation in this arrangement because they don’t really have a whole lot to lose. CCM is the government of Nevis; CCM has full control of Nevis; they have all the seats in Nevis. My sense is that the St. Kitts pie is of less concern to CCM, so I think that in the analysis, we need to set them aside. My assumption is that PAM has presumed that they can lead… that they can win the majority, and that if they could retain the status quo and with the CCM retaining their status quo as well, they can form a government, and this is correct, it certainly [is] with four and three, they would definitely be able to retain the status quo, and they could form a government.”
A local election is also constitutionally due in Nevis every two and a half years. That deadline is March 2023, less than a year from the current political dilemma, which could lead to a snap election.
The results of the 2020 General Elections had PAM winning four seats, PLP winning two, SKNLP winning two and CCM gaining all three seats in Nevis.
“The People’s Action Movement has four seats … and I think among them, we agree that two of them are somewhat shaky. One of the seats that [PLP] has is also somewhat shaky. And in a situation where you have a split of the vote where you assume that people who are loyal to team unity… with [people having loyalty to] one of the three players, a split vote ultimately gives the [St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party] some level of advantage. And I’m saying that if you have three seats in that parliamentary configuration, it means that you could, in theory, form a government with CCM. That’s not impossible because CCM has in the past shown an inclination to consider other options that have been on the table, and they’ve said this.”
Wickham added, “so yes, the CCM-PAM Unity is holding now; I am saying that once you have a configuration of three, pretty much anything number could play quite frankly if the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) wins a seat in Nevis, which again is also possible, that could also create a very peculiar situation in which the NRP-Labor coalition would then have four seats. When you’re talking about a parliament that has eight seats on the main with three in Nevis, it does create some level of confusion, and I would say uncertainty that no one is really certain what will happen if this election is called now.”
In the case of a new administration before 2022’s end, the Federation is gearing up for significant shifts in power while still at the mercy of the effects of COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the current economic recession forcing price increases in fuel, exports and imports, goods and services.
See the full interview here: