‘Kingmaker’ Asot suggests there could be revolt against PM if ABLP wins ‘narrow’ election

Independent candidate for St Peter, Asot Michael (Photo by Observer’s Samantha Simon)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

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The independent candidate for St Peter has claimed that there are members within the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) who are willing to break allegiance with current Prime Minister Gaston Browne if the general election ends in a narrow majority.

Asot Michael has been on a crusade to retain his seat in the upcoming general elections on January 18 as well as to politically defeat the Prime Minister.

Speaking on state media yesterday, Michael claimed that “the day after the election, the Constitution is clear, any nine Parliamentarians forms the government; [Prime Minister] Gaston Browne does not get to decide whether he holds the swear-in after the elections.

“Not because traditionally he is the political leader of the party [that] he becomes Prime Minister; the nine or 10 — however many seats the Labour Party wins — decides who becomes the Prime Minster,” he said.

He claimed that some members on the ABLP ticket were not “happy” with Browne.

Michael who is seeking to retain his seat as constituency representative of St Peter — this time as an independent — said he would “have a louder and stronger voice”.

“An independent … will also be able to work with whatever government is elected. I have to be realistic — if the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party return to government, I am going to work with them.

“If the United Progressive Party forms the new the government, I have to work with them in the interest of my constituents,” he said.

Additionally, Michael rejected any claim that he was funding, supporting or had made any deal with the main opposition, UPP.

When asked if he was trying to be a kingmaker in the new Parliament, Michael stated “yes”.

According to Section 69(2) of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, “whenever there is occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister, the Governor-General shall appoint as Prime Minister who is: a member of the House who is the leader in the House of the political party that commands the support of the majority of members of the House; and where it appears to him that such party does not have an undisputed leader in the House, or that no party commands the support of such a majority, the member of the House who, in his judgement, is most likely to command the support of the majority of members of the House, and is willing to accept the office of Prime Minister”.

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