SAN JUAN – Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has moved up the 2016 general elections to Feb. 25, insisting her People’s National Party is ready to win a second term.
“If it’s a mountain we have climbed it, if it’s a river we have crossed it, if it’s a test we have passed it, and if it’s a contest, we will win it,” she told hundreds of cheering supporters Sunday night at a PNP rally in Kingston.
The focus of the next term will be continued economic development and job creation, Simpson-Miller said during the event, which was live-streamed on the Internet.
The government had until the end of 2016 to call elections.
The prime minister urged her supporters to ensure that the election season is free of violence.
“I am committed to ensuring a peaceful campaign, we are one Jamaica, and even if you are provoked, walk away peacefully,” she pleaded.
Parliament is to be dissolved Friday.
The leader of the main opposition Jamaica Labor Party, Andrew Holness said his party is prepared for the election, having expected that Simpson-Miller would want to go to the polls ahead of the tabling of the budget.
“We always knew that she would use the shortest time possible, and we also knew that she would not want the campaign to extend into the budget debate period, when she would have to announce new measures arising from the current agreement with the International Monetary Fund,” Holness told JLP supporters Sunday night.
A recent poll showed the PNP with a lead of four percentage points over the JLP, but a survey conducted in December indicated the two parties were in a dead heat.
The PNP took 41 of the 63 seats in parliament in the last general election, with the rest going to the JLP.