General elections were held in Dominica on 6 December 2019 for the 21 elected seats in the House of Assembly using a first-past-the-post system.
The unicameral Parliament of Dominica, the House of Assembly, is composed of 21 elected Representatives, in single-member constituencies through a first-past-the-post system. Of the remaining eleven members, nine are appointed by the President (five on the advice of the Prime Minister and four on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition); and two - the Speaker and the Attorney General - are ex-officio. The normal duration of the legislature is five years.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Tuesday, 5 November 2019 announced that he had advised President Charles Savarin to dissolve the Parliament on Wednesday, 6 November 2019 in preparation for the poll that was constitutionally due by March 2020. Nomination Day was 19 November 2019. Some 74 895 people are eligible to vote for the 21 seats in the election.
Political Parties & Candidates
The incumbent Dominica Labour Party (DLP) led by Roosevelt Skerrit and United Workers Party (UWP) led by Lennox Linton are the only two parties contesting this election. The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), under the leadership of Kent Vital, has bowed out of the race but has thrown its support behind the United Workers Party and encouraged DFP members to do the same.
Forty-two candidates - 13 women and 29 men - contested the 21 constituencies; with both the DLP and UWP pressing full slates of candidates. There are 22 candidates who will be contesting the elections for the first time.
Skerrit said that he hoped the campaign will be conducted in an atmosphere of civility and peace. Skerrit campaigned on a promise of continued good government, improved socio-economic conditions, and the construction of a new international airport funded by China, while the UWP pointed to corruption within the Skerrit-led administration and urging Dominicans to allow them to steer the island into a new development path. The opposition had called for electoral reform, including the issuance of voter identification cards ahead of the polls.
The elections were marred by some level of unrest in the form of blocking roads and burning debris, and much of it is limited to two UWP strongholds - the Marigot and Salisbury constituencies.
Following a request from the Government of Dominica, a contingent of the Regional Security System’s (RSS) service personnel was deployed to Dominica four days before the election to help the country’s Police Force ensure there was a safe and secure environment during the General Election period.
Pressure group, Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), headed by its president Loftus Durand and six other Dominican citizens, went to court to challenge the 2019 elections and asked the court to halt the process and place an injunction. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) however denied the application for the injunction to stop the General Election.
The Dominica Labour Party (DLP) led by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit won an unprecedented fifth consecutive term, including four under his premiership. The DLP won 18 seats with the UWP winning the remaining three seats.
The new House of Assembly will include a record eight women. This includes Melissa Poppone-Skerrit, first timer and the wife of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who won the Roseau Central seat which has been a stronghold of the United Workers Party.
Joseph Isaac, who previously held the Roseau Central seat for the UWP before crossing the floor to become a DLP Minister, contested the Roseau North seat for the DLP but lost.
UWP's deputy leader, attorney at law, Joshua Francis lost his Roseau South seat to newcomer Cherika Lockhart Hypolite. UWP's Ezekiel Bazil also lost his Wesley seat to newcomer Fidel Grant.
In Morne Jaune/Riviere Cyrique, Gretta Roberts retained the seat for the DLP. Her late mother, Gertrude Roberts held the seat from 1990 to 2005 for the UWP.
Voter turnout was 54.42% of the 74,895 registered voters.
The polls were monitored by teams from the CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM); Organization of American States (OAS) Electoral Mission, and Commonwealth Observation Group (COG).
The teams met with stakeholders, including election management officials, representatives of political parties, civil society groups and others, and were deployed to observe the election environment, including related court proceedings and polling day preparations.
The missions generally concluded that voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or fear, and that the results of the election reflected the will of the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Roosevelt Skerrit, 47, Roosevelt Skerrit was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica. This is fourth full term and 16th year as Prime Minister of Dominica.
President Charles Savarin issued the Oaths of Allegiance and Secrecy before a packed audience of Skerrit’s family, friends and supporters. Skerrit thanked God and the people of Dominica for allowing him to govern the island for another five-year term.
The new Cabinet was sworn in on 17 December 2019.