PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands – A Monday recount of paper ballots from parliamentary elections in the British territory of the Turks & Caicos Islands confirmed no changes from the provisional tally.
The recount established that the Progressive National Party won eight of the 15 Parliament seats in Friday's elections that will lead to a government that will resume local administration after three years of direct rule by Britain, the governor's office said in a statement Monday evening.
Party leader Rufus Ewing will become the next premier after he is sworn in.
Provisional results announced Saturday showed that Ewing's party won the election, but People's Democratic Movement leader Oswald Skippings pushed for a recount of the overall vote. He failed to win a seat but his party claimed the remaining seven seats.
As the recount got under way, a mission of eight election observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and a regional group issued a statement saying the ballots were counted accurately the first time and the voting process was transparent at the islands' 17 polling stations.
The paper ballots were recounted at a church hall in Grand Turk, the islands' capital. The ballots had been stored at a police station since the provisional tally was announced Saturday.
Some 84 percent of the islands' 7,337 registered voters participated, according to the government.
The election came three years after the small territory's jet-setting premier, Michael Misick, stepped down amid allegations of corruption and lavish spending. Britain took control of the islands' government in August 2009 and launched a corruption inquiry.
Misick, the former leader of the Progressive National Party, denied any wrongdoing but is a fugitive who is believed to be living in the Dominican Republic.
Britain will retain much control of the islands' finances after the new government is seated.