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(CMC) – The leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell was defeated in the general elections here on Wednesday as the party appears heading towards a massive overall defeat.
Lovell, a former finance minister, who was leading the UPP into a general election for the first time, was seeking to regain the St John’s City East seat, which he lost in 2014 to the incumbent Melford Nicholas of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP).
Nicholas polled 769 votes as against 616 for Lovell and 16 votes for Bruce Goodwin of the Nemocratic National Alliance (DNA).
“This is a more satisfying victory to me than the first victory,” Nicholas said, adding “we always knew we were in the pole position…”
Lovell has not yet conceded defeat in the general election, but the ABLP is leading in all of the 17 seats, except Barbuda, where Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) easily defeated the incumbent Arthur Nibbs of the ABLP by 568 to 429 votes.
“This is a historic time for the people of Barbuda,” Walker said, noting that this is the first time that a candidate has won the seat by more than 100 seats.
“I am very happy tonight. I have made history in so many ways. I have won all the boxes and that has never happened and the people have said to the administration that they are fed up,” he added.
Walker had gone to the High Court unsuccessfully challenging the decision of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) to have voters on the island cast their ballots in Antigua. ABEC had taken the decision indicating that the damage done to the island by Hurricane Irma last September had made it impossible for the voters there to cast their ballots.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who had predicted a clean sweep of the polls by his ABLP, is comfortably leading in the St John City West constituency which he has represented since 1999, while his wife, Maria Browne, is heading for a successful entry into politics leading in the St John Rural seat that had been held previously by former prime minister and family member, Sir Lester Bird.