General Elections were held in Montserrat on 18 November 2019 for the nine elected seats in the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly of Montserrat has eleven members, of which nine are elected. The other two seats are taken by the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary.
The British Overseas Territory is a single nine-member constituency, with voters able to vote for up to nine candidates on their ballot paper.
In a brief radio broadcast on Monday, 7 October 2019, Romeo told listeners the time had finally come to announce the dissolution of Parliament and the date for the 2019 general elections. He said he had already met with the Acting Governor Lyndell Simpson and confirmed that the instruments for the dissolution of parliament had been signed. He announced November 18 as the date for general elections in this British Overseas Territory. Nomination Day was later announced for Monday, 18 November 2019.
In the days following the announcement, Romeo was ousted as leader of the PDM party and decided to run in the elections as an independent.
In October 2018, Romeo survived a move by disgruntled opposition legislators to bring down his administration when a key government backbencher indicated that he had no intention of supporting a vote of no confidence against him. Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term, but told legislators that they should withdraw the motion. The government which held a slim one seat majority in the Legislative Assembly and political observers had expected Hogan, who was dismissed by Romeo in 2017, to have sided with the opposition that included two former members of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).
The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed by Romeo on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections. The party defeated the then ruling MCAP, the Alliance of Independent Candidates and 10 other independents.
Political Parties & Candidates
A total of 35 candidates were nominated to contest the election including 8 women and 27 men. Four parties will be contesting the elections. The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), now led by Paul Lewis is fielding seven candidates, and the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) led by Joseph Easton Taylor-Farrell has a full slate of nine. The Montserrat National Congress (MNC) led by Dr Lowell Lewis has three candidates and the Montserrat United Labour Party (MULP) led by Peter Queeley has five. There are also 11 independent candidates contesting the election.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region has been invited by the Government of Montserrat to conduct the election observation mission. The team comprises parliamentarians, officials and analysts. The Mission will observe the election process and meet with key stakeholders including officials, candidates, and members of the public. The election will be observed against international standards and domestic laws by seven international observers. Initial findings will be published after the election, and the final report including recommendations will be published two months later.
The result was a victory for the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) led by Joseph Easton Taylor-Farrell, winning 5 of the 9 seats. The Paul Lewis led People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) won three seats, while former Premier Donaldson Romeo retained his seat, but this time as an independent.
Newcomer Veronica Dorsette-HEctor of MCAP will be the only woman in the new Legislative Assembly. She joins the other newcomer, Crenston Buffonge - also of MCAP. Dr. Samuel Joseph (MCAP), David Osborne (PDM), and Claude Hogan (PDM) all retained their seats, while Charles Kirnon (MCAP) returns to the Legislative Assembly after previously serving from 2006 to 2014.
Voter turnout was 62.52% of the 3,858 registered voters.
On Tuesday, 19 November 2019, Joseph Easton Taylor-Farrell was sworn in as the third premier of the British Overseas Territory. The newly appointed Ministers of the MCAP administration were officially sworn in on Friday, 22 November 2019. On 22 November 2019, PDM Leader Paul Lewis was sworn is the the new Leader of the Opposition.