Notes From The Margin

September 4, 2007

The True Test of Democracy – The Loser Accepts Defeat

Filed under: blogging,Caribbean,Caricom,Jamaica,law,politicians — notesfromthemargin @ 4:06 pm

The results of the election in Jamaica are in, and the result is close.  31 to 29 in favour of the JLP (former opposition) Portia Simpson Miller has refused to concede defeat so plunging the island into a highly uncertain situation.

 Jamaica was on Monday night plunged into a state of political uncertainty after the Jamaica Labour Party scraped to victory by the narrowest of margins.
The People’s National Party has refused to concede defeat after it slumped to a two seat loss.

It is reported that at least one noted legal luminary is saying there is no constitutional crisis as there is a majority for the Governor General to work with to form a new Government.

While legally there may be no constitutional crisis, in a country that is famous for electoral violence, Mrs. Simpson Miller’s refusal to concede could have the potential to lead to civil instability in Jamaica. The challenges for Bruce Golding to implement his programme in the face of an intransigent loser would be enormous (particularly with a 2 seat majority, which must also supply the house speaker).  We hope that for the good of all that cool heads will prevail.

 As we have seen time and time again (most times positively in the Caribbean) the true test of democracy is not when the people vote, but when all sides (especially the loser) accepts the outcome of the election as being representative of the will of the people. We hope that for the sake of Jamaica Mrs. Simpson Millar will act acordingly.


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