BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – An alliance of three opposition parties won parliamentary elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, denying the former governing party and its prime minister a fifth consecutive term in power, officials said Tuesday.
Outgoing Prime Minister Denzil Douglas conceded defeat late Tuesday afternoon, extending his congratulations to the Team Unity coalition led by Timothy Harris, a former minister in his Cabinet.
"I wish our newly elected government well," said Douglas, who had been prime minister since 1995.
Harris, the prime minister-elect for his bloc as it begins a five-year term, called it a "great day" for the twin-island country, which is one of the smallest nations in the world with roughly 55,000 inhabitants.
Final results from Monday's election were still pending, but the Team Unity alliance said it won at least seven of the 11 seats in Parliament.
Elections Supervisor Wingrove George was widely criticized earlier Tuesday after he suspended reporting of partial results.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and other observers called for ballot counting to be expedited. Political leaders from other regional nations said George's office needed to hurry up and deliver the results, which had been expected early in the day since St. Kitts and Nevis has only about 36,000 registered voters.
"The region's reputation for democracy and for free and fair elections will be under threat as long as this issue in St. Kitts and Nevis remains unresolved," Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said in a statement.
George told state-owned radio and TV station ZIZ that some candidates were contesting preliminary results, slowing an official announcement from his office.
"We don't want to hurriedly make decisions and determinations that we can't recall," George was quoted as saying.