A Caribbean Court of Appeal has ruled that Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and two other MPs were properly elected last year, ending attempts to call new elections.
The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal overturned an Antigua High Court judge’s decision earlier this year, voiding the March 2009 election results in three constituencies, including Prime Minister Spencer’s St. John District.
The Appeal Court, which issued the decision in St. Lucia recently, has final say on electoral issues in nine former or current British territories in the region.
Spencer declared victory saying, “Legal recourse in this matter has now been exhausted, and the country can and must now return to a state of calm and certainty.”
Opposition Leader Lester Bird had accused Spencer of being a “squatter” in the government and insisted the ruling lawmakers were improperly elected, largely due to the late start of voting in their districts.
Losing three seats would have left Spencer’s governing coalition tied with the opposition in Parliament.
Last year’s election gave Spencer’s party nine of the Parliament’s 17 seats, down from 12 on the previous assembly.
The Barbuda People’s Movement, which is allied with Spencer, also won a seat while the opposition Labor Party got seven.