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Bermudians to go to polls on July 18


CMC

Bermudians to go to polls on July 18

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HAMILTON, Bermuda – Premier Michael Dunkley on Thursday ended weeks of speculation by announcing a general election will be held in this British Overseas Territory on July 18.

The news followed a statement from Opposition Leader David Burt challenging Dunkley to call an election or face the opposition Progressive Labour Party’s (PLP) planned motion of no confidence in the House of Assembly on Friday.

Dunkley, who named the date at One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) headquarters late Thursday, had remained tight-lipped on the electoral call earlier in the day, only saying –  “You’ll find out when I do it.”

The Premier confirmed he had gained assent from Governor John Rankin for the writ of election that will be officially gazetted on Friday.

The OBA won the last election in December 2012 by 19 seats to 17, ending 14 years of rule by the PLP.

According to Dunkley,  the “politics of destabilisation” had threatened national progress “just as the island is taking centre stage before the world, just as we’re taking flight”.

“It is deeply disappointing, and it is why we are here this evening.”

But he disputed suggestions that his hand had been forced by the impending motion against him, saying he had contemplated five different slots for the election to fall.

“Two have passed, two are in the future, and this is the one that matters — I have called it.”

One of the reasons for favouring July was the presence of students back home on holiday, he said.

However, the ruling finds itself in a precarious position after two of its legislators – former Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell and ex-Attorney General Mark Pettingill — quit the government to sit as independents in the House.

Pettingill’s decision to resign in March rendered the OBA a minority government.

Crockwell said he resigned from the OBA because of Dunkley’s style of leadership.

For his part, Pettingill said he disagreed with the government over a number of issues.

Crockwell told the Royal Gazette recently that he planned to vote against the government in Friday’s planned no confidence motion, while Pettingill, his partner in a Hamilton law firm, kept his cards close to his chest.

On Thrusday, Dunkley was quiet on on Pettingill’s position in a potential House vote, saying: “Mr Pettingill and I speak on a regular basis.”

“Bermuda has made great strides since the election of December 2012,” Dunkley said.

“We’ve worked hard to turn around a dire situation that was hurting Bermudian families in unprecedented numbers. We brought Bermuda back from the brink of economic collapse, and cleared a path to recovery and renewal that is bringing relief to more and more households every day.” (CMC)

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