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People's Party wins in Jamaican Election

Posted: Jan 04, 2012

Portmore, Jamaica - Another four years was needed to make it happen, but “woman time” has arrived in this Caribbean nation.

Portia Simpson Miller last week led the opposition party to victory in Jamaica’s election, positioning her to serve as prime minister for a full five-year term. With her People’s National Party capturing exactly two-thirds of the 63 seats in parliament, the outcome met the definition of a landslide and defied predictions of a close election.

Supporters had rallied around the seasoned parliamentarian known as “Sista P” by declaring in Jamaican Patois, “It’s woman time.”

Simpson Miller, 66, had served as the country’s first female prime minister for a year and a half until the 2007 election in which the Jamaica Labor Party narrowly won.

This time the ruling Jamaica Labor Party was on the defensive because of a series of corruption scandals that prompted the resignation of several government officials, including Bruce Golding, then the prime minister. The party had been out of power for 18 years before winning a majority in 2007.

Golding quit after initially rejecting an American demand that his government detain and extradite an indicted drug dealer, Christopher “Dudus” Cooke, straining diplomatic relations with the United States. In 2010, the government finally sent a massive number of police and soldiers to search for Cooke in his heavily armed gang’s territory — which Golding represented in parliament. The raid led to more than 70 deaths in Kingston, the capital.

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