Opposition party wins Jamaican legislative vote

Jamaica’s opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller, is promising to lead an open government following preliminary election results that show a large victory for her party.

Ms. Simpson Miller told supporters after Thursday’s general election that she wants a partnership with the Jamaican people, the private sector and the media.

Ms. Simpson Miller is set to again become the country’s prime minister following a win by her opposition People’s National Party. Election officials say preliminary results show the party won 41 seats in the House of Representatives, two thirds of the total seats.

A final vote count is expected in the coming days.

The campaign director of the ruling Jamaica Labor Party conceded defeat Thursday on a national television broadcast. Karl Samuda said “We have not won. The people have spoken.”

Ms. Simpson Miller became Jamaica’s first female prime minister in 2006 but narrowly lost re-election the following year.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness from the center-right Jamaica Labor Party had fought to retain his position just two months after he was sworn in. The 39-year-old took power when his predecessor, Bruce Golding, resigned in a scandal over his handling of a U.S. extradition request for a notorious drug gang leader.

Now, Ms. Simpson Miller faces the task of leading her party in lowering Jamaica’s 13 percent unemployment rate and tackling the country’s debt-ridden and stagnant economy.

Observers said the voting was mainly smooth and peaceful, a change from previous elections marred by violence.

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