According to preliminary results from the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has won the 2007 general election, which was held yesterday (Monday, September 3). The figures released by the EOJ last night show that of the 60 contested seats, the JLP has won 31 seats, while the People's National Party (PNP) has won 29 seats.
In his victory speech at the JLP headquarters in Kingston, Leader of the JLP, Bruce Golding said that the Jamaican people have spoken and "we accept and respect that decision."
He said that the narrowness of the result posed significant challenges, "not just for me and not just for the team that I lead, but indeed for the country."
"I want to suggest to you that while no one begrudges your cause of celebration, it is more a time for engagement. It may very well be that the people of Jamaica, in their own profound wisdom, are sending a clear message to all of us that the time has come for constructive engagement among the political forces of the country," Mr. Golding told party supporters.
He said that regardless of what the margin of victory was, he had a plan to indicate that under his leadership and under a government that he would lead, "we would seek to establish a new framework that would seek to establish an inclusiveness between the Government and the Opposition."
"We make a mistake if we believe that a party, no matter how large its majority, is going to be able to take this country forward as fast as this country needs to go, if it does so on its own steam without the co-operation of the people of Jamaica. It is important in going forward for there to be a new paradigm of constructive engagement," Mr. Golding emphasized.
For her part, President of the PNP, incumbent Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said she would not concede, and would await the final counting of the votes on Tuesday, September 4.
The PNP won the previous four general elections in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2002, while the JLP last won in 1983, when the PNP did not contest the election and before that, in 1980.