Thursday, January 28, 2016
DESPITE issuing a news release yesterday, which gave no indication that the date for the next general election will be announced, the Jamaica Observer understands that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will on Sunday tell the people of the nation when they may vote.
The long-awaited announcement is set for Half-Way-Tree Square in St Andrew, and should end ongoing speculation about when Simpson Miller will ‘call it’.
|Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller|
“The People’s National Party will be hosting the first in a series of national meetings on Sunday, 31st January, 2016 in Half-way-Tree Square, starting at 6:00 pm,” the party said in a statement late yesterday.
“The meeting is part of the party’s national mobilisation effort as it prepares itself for general election. “The party leader and prime minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, along with other officers will address supporters,” the news release said.
It is likely that the election, which is constitutionally due by the end of March 2017, will be held by February at the earliest, based upon the stipulations laid down by the Constituted Authority, or early March.
The law now allows for Nomination Day to be held no less than five days and no more than seven days from the time of the announcement of the general election.
Similarly, voting must be conducted no less than 16 days and no more than 23 days between Nomination Day and Election Day.
An early sign that Simpson Miller would announce the election date emerged last Sunday when the PNP placed full-page newspaper advertisements of its 63 candidates.
Another signal popped up during a sitting of the House of Representatives in Gordon House on Tuesday, when Simpson Miller, in an off-microphone comment aimed at the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) spokesman on finance and planning, and Member of Parliament for Manchester North Eastern Audley Shaw, said that she had now been touched by the ‘master’ — a reference to her earlier pronouncement that she would only give the election date when God touches her and instructs her to announce it.
It was also hardly a secret that Simpson Miller was awaiting the findings of the latest opinion poll conducted by the Don Anderson-led Market Research Services for the RJR Communications Group, which yesterday found that the PNP held a slim 4.3 percentage point lead over the JLP among committed voters.
The poll found that 27.5 per cent of committed voters said that they would mark the ‘X’ for the PNP, against the JLP’s 23.2 per cent. more