WEST PORTLAND, Jamaica: The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) restored its majority in parliament following Daryl Vaz’s landslide victory in Monday’s West Portland by-election.
Vaz secured 7,915 votes, soundly defeating Kenneth Rowe of the People’s National Party (PNP), who garnered 5,626 votes. Astor Black of the New Jamaica Alliance received 27 votes.
Electoral officials have reported that over 70 per cent of the 18,000 eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots.
The by-election ended a conflict that arose following the last general election in September 2007, in which Vaz defeated Abe Dabdoub of the PNP. However, Dabdoub filed a challenge on the grounds that Vaz was a citizen of Jamaica and the United States. Under the nation’s constitution, a person who has pledged allegiance to a foreign power cannot sit in parliament.
Vaz has since renounced his U.S. citizenship.
The JLP currently has 32 seats in the 60 member parliament. Three of its MPs – Sharine Robinson, Michael Stern and Gregory Mair – also face dual citizenship challenges.