Opposition Upset in St. Kitts and Nevis Unlikely to Make Waves

Opposition Upset in St. Kitts and Nevis Unlikely to Make Waves
View of Basseterre, St. Kitts, Dec. 21, 2010 (photo by Flickr usser sel licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Last week, the opposition Team Unity coalition ousted the Labour party in St. Kitts and Nevis’ parliamentary election after 20 years in power. In an email interview, Wouter Veenendaal, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, discussed domestic politics in St. Kitts and Nevis.

WPR: What led to the success of the Team Unity coalition over the long-ruling Labour Party in recent election?

Wouter Veenendaal: The election victory of Team Unity can be explained by a number of factors. First, the Labour Party and its leader Denzil Douglas ruled St. Kitts and Nevis for 20 years, and Douglas was the longest-serving prime minister in the Americas. Based on the typical dynamics of the country’s Westminster political system, a change of leadership could be expected: In Westminster systems, power commonly alternates between the largest political factions, and Team Unity recently became the largest political force in the Caribbean nation.

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