BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said on Friday he will allow the dissolution of Antigua and Barbuda’s parliament to proceed as mandated by the constitution, a necessary prerequisite for general elections that must be held by July 25.
Parliament will automatically stand dissolved on Saturday, April 26, five years after the first sitting of the current legislature, Spencer said in a radio and television broadcast.
The prime minister recalled his earlier unwillingness to consider dissolving parliament or fixing a date for elections until the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal ruled on a pair of electoral cases brought by the main opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party (ABLP).
Spencer said he took that stand because of the cases’ “significance to the current election process and out of respect for the court as one of our public institution pillars.”
The court is expected to rule next Monday on the ABLP’s challenges to voter rolls and district boundaries.
“The court’s extraordinary and inexplicable delay will prevent any implementation of the proposed boundaries alterations approved by Parliament for this upcoming elections,” Spencer said Friday.
ABLP leader Gaston Browne said earlier this week that he had no regrets about bringing the cases before the Appeals Court, insisting that he had acted in the best interest of the nation.
Spencer’s United Progressive Party won nine of the 17 parliamentary seats in the 2009 general election, with the rest going to the ABLP.