The Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) has defied political odds by winning the country’s 17th general election by a slender three seat margin, claiming 33 of the 63 Parliamentary seats contested.
JLP leader, Andrew Holness, is the most likely to take over from the PNP’s Portia Simpson Miller as the next prime minister. Simpson-Miller, who had two separate terms as the country's first woman prime minister, reduced inflation and improved economic growth during her tenure but also embraced spending cuts, wage freezes and harsh fiscal discipline as part of a $1.27bn (£910m) IMF bailout.
The austerity programme drove voters towards Holness who promised deep tax cuts and increase in employment. "We will grow the Jamaican economy. We will create jobs. We will give you an accountable and responsive government," he said, promising that the JLP government would also look into housing and healthcare issues. Speaking to his party supporters following the win he said, "We don't take it that we have won a prize. The cost of victory is to keep the commitments we have made."
Holness will be joined by his wife, Juliet in Parliament as a first time MP, after she won the St. Andrew East Rural constituency seat by 700 votes. St. Andrew East Rural constituency is the largest geographically, in the country.
Prime Minister designate, Holness believes his wife is qualified to be included in the Cabinet, but says that it would be up to her to decide whether she wants to sit in the executive.
“Of course, my wife is fit for Cabinet duties”, said Holness. “As to whether or not she wants to be in the Cabinet, that’s another consideration”.