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British Virgin Islands General Election Results - 20 August 2007

General Elections were held in the British Virgin Islands on 20 August 2007 for all 13 seats in the House of Assembly.

Electoral System

The British Virgin Islands elects on territorial level to a unicameral legislature. The House of Assembly (formerly called the Legislative Council prior to 2007) consists of fifteen (15) members; thirteen (13) elected representatives for a four year term, nine (9) of whom are electoral district representatives and four (4) as territorial-at-large representatives, the Attorney General (non-voting, ex officio member) and one elected Speaker.

Background

The House of Assembly was dissolved on 15 June 2007 and Polling Day was set for Monday 20 August 2007.  The issuance of the writs of Election signalled the date for nomination and the date for the General Elections. The writs were issued pursuant to sec. 24 of the Elections Act 1994 by His Excellency the Governor on the 20 July 2007.
With the coming into effect of Elections (Amendment) Act, 2007 - No. 1 of 2007 on the 12 January 2007 sec. 26(1) of the Principal Act was amended to increase the fees payable for nomination from $300 to $500. The coming into effect of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order No. 1678 of 2007 also brought into effect new qualifications and disqualifications for elected membership to the House of Assembly.

Political Parties & Candidates

Nomination Day was held on 9 August 2007. Thirty-five candidates were nominated. Of these, 23 candidates were nominated for the nine Local Electoral District seats and 12 candidates were nominated for the four seats in the Territorial Electoral District.
Of the 35 nominated candidates 25 were nominated by the two main political parties -- The Virgin Islands Party and the National Democratic Party. The other candidates were nominated as Independent Candidates.

Results

The opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) made an almost clean sweep of the 15-member House of Assembly when it won 11 seats in the general elections. The VIP won three of the four at large seats, with former Chief Minister Dr Orlando Smith, who led the incumbent National Democratic Party (NDP) into the election, holding on to the fourth seat.  The NDP won only one other seat in the election with Dr Kedrick Pickering narrowly defeating Ronnie Lettsome in the Seventh District.  Independent Candidate J. Alvin Christopher, who was endorsed by the VIP, regained his seat in the second district, defeating the NDP's Gerald Chinnery.

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 62.3% of the 10,150 registered voters.

Post-election

On 22 August 2007, the Governor, David Pearey officially appointed Ralph O'Neal as the first Premier (as the position of Chief Minister will be called) under section 52(1) the new constitution. He became only the second person in BVI political history (after Lavity Stoutt) to serve two non-consecutive terms of office as Chief Minister/Premier, and only the third (Lavity Stoutt and Willard Wheatley) to win more than one general election as party leader (both since matched by Orlando Smith). On 23 August 2007, the first cabinet was sworn in under Ralph O'Neal.

The inaugural session of the House of Assembly was held on 14 September 2007.  Former teacher and government Personnel Department employee Roy Harrigan of Virgin Gorda was unanimously elected speaker. Businessman and former speaker Keith Flax was named the new deputy speaker.
ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 13 seats: 9 in single-member constituencies;
4 at-large
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of House Fri, 15 Jun 2007
Nomination Day Thu, 9 Aug 2007
Polling Day Mon, 20 Aug 2007
First Meeting of Parliament Fri, 14 Sep 2007
POLITICAL LEADERS
  Photo D. Orlando SMITH
National Democratic Party (NDP)
  Photo Ralph T. O'NEAL
Virgin Islands Party (VIP)
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Sources
Virgin Islands Office of the Supervisor of Elections
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