SAN JUAN – More than 1.8 million voters are expected to vote in Jamaica’s general elections as more than 150 candidates vie for the 63 seats in parliament.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller’s People’s National Party and the main opposition Jamaica Labor Party, led by former premier Andrew Holness, are competing for every seat, while smaller parties have put forward 25 candidates in all.
Thursday’s vote will be observed by delegations from the Caribbean Community and Organization of American States.
Both the PNP and the JLP have focused their electoral campaigns on pledges to boost the economy by attracting foreign investment.
The PNP wants to continue with the expansion of the Special Economic Zone and accelerate the push to make Jamaica a regional logistics hub.
The JLP, meanwhile, proposes to create a special council of ambassadors tasked with attracting investment and promoting public-private partnerships.
A former director of elections, Danville Walker, has warned of possible irregularities in Thursday’s poll and the PNP and JLP continue to trade allegations of electoral misconduct.
Walker said Tuesday that while the electoral system has been improved significantly, there are still avenues for corruption.
One gambit, he said, involves the parties’ attempting to shift votes between different constituencies to shore up weaknesses.
The Caribbean country of 2.7 million has 1.8 million registered voters, according to data from the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.
In the 2011 elections, the PNP took 41 of the 63 seats in parliament, with the rest going to the JLP.