ST. VINCENT-COURT-Government and opposition confident ahead of election petitions hearing

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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 2, CMC – The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says they are confident of victory as the High Court begins hearing two election petitions on Tuesday.
The petitions, filed by the NDP, were given a new lease on life when the Court of Appeal ruled on March 7 that High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle showed apparent bias in his decision to throw out them out last June.
The NDP is challenging the results of the December 9, 2015 general elections in the constituencies of Central Leeward and North Windward. The ULP won the general election taking control of the 15-member Parliament by a single seat.
The NDP, citing irregularities, is asking the court to overturn the results and declare its candidates, Ben Exeter and Lauron Baptiste as the winners or to order fresh elections in those two constituencies.
The government, however, is arguing that the petitions were improperly filed and has asked the court to dismiss them.
But the NDP has countered saying that the application by the respondents is also not properly before the court.
High Court judge Justice Esco Henry will hear arguments from both sides on Tuesday and Thursday and political observers note that a ruling in favour of the opposition could lead to the collapse of the Gonsalves administration.
The matter is not expected to end with Justice Henry’s ruling as both sides, despite indicating their confidence in securing victory, have also signalled their intention to appeal.

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