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Opposition Calls for New Elections on St. Vincent

June 17, 1998| Reuters

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — The opposition party in St. Vincent and the Grenadines called Tuesday for new elections, saying fraud had tainted the winning of a fourth straight term by the ruling party.

On Monday, Prime Minister James F. Mitchell's New Democratic Party won eight of 15 seats in the legislature of the Caribbean nation, with the opposition United Labor Party taking the other seven.

ULP leader Vincent Beache alleged voter intimidation, fraud and bribery and called for a new election within six months, the Caribbean News Agency reported.

Mitchell dismissed the allegations as "nonsense" and said he hoped the opposition would respect the will of the people.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a group of about 30 islands in the southeastern Caribbean, is a constitutional monarchy within the British Commonwealth, with a population of more than 110,000. Its economy is based on tourism and agriculture. Bananas, coconuts and arrowroot are its key exports.

Continuing unemployment and a lagging economy were key concerns in the election.

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