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Labor Party strengthens parliamentary majority in St. Kitts election

By Clive Bacchus, Nando Media 7 March 2000

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts and Nevis (March 7, 2000 9:08 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Prime Minister Denzil Douglas' Labor Party strengthened its parliamentary majority in elections in the twin-island Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, results released Tuesday show.

Labor won all eight seats in Monday's election for the 11-member National Assembly that were at stake in St. Kitts. Opposition leader Kennedy Simmonds' People's Action Movement won none. In Nevis, the Concerned Citizens Movement won two seats and the Nevis Reformation Party claimed the third seat.

Both Douglas and Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor were re-elected by wide margins.

The People's Action Movement, which governed from 1980-95, had sought to oust Labor by winning at least three seats in St. Kitts and forming a coalition with the winners of the seats in Nevis.

Going into the election, Labor had seven of St. Kitts' eight seats.

Douglas had warned at a weekend rally that "instability and confusion" would ensue if Simmonds' party allied with the Nevis parties. The islands have an uneasy union that barely survived an August 1998 secession referendum in Nevis, where residents complain they don't receive their fair share of federal spending.

Elected in 1995, Douglas pointed to his efforts to promote resort construction in tourism-dependent St. Kitts, salary hikes for public servants and efforts to combat crime.

Simmonds had assailed Douglas' failed efforts to rejuvenate the sugar industry and deal with St. Kitts' $192 million debt. Douglas blamed five hurricanes that have slammed the islands in four years for frustrating economic development.