Early election ‘foolhardy’ with low voter turnout
Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday an early election would be “foolhardy” due to low voter registration.
Prime Minister Perry Christie said recently an election date would be determined by the number of voters registered in the coming weeks, hinting that he could make a call as early as February.
Christie is constitutionally bound to call an election by May 2017.
He can do so anytime before this date.
“I think that it would be foolhardy to precipitate an early election with such low voter turnout,” Butler-Turner said.
“I think it would be judicious of the governing side to at least give people an opportunity to exercise their right to go and register and to determine if they are going to vote.”
Last week, voter registration was just under 72,000.
This represents just over 40 percent of expected eligible voters.
During this period five years ago, there were approximately 134,000 registered voters.
Ultimately, just over 172,00 people registered to vote in the last general election.
Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall previously expressed concerns over voter apathy.
Butler-Turner suggested yesterday that an early election would be in the PLP’s best interest and not the Bahamian people’s best interest.
“I don’t care how much Mr. Christie and his merry band of cohorts wish to dance around the election issue,” she said.
“The Bahamian people have suffered untold pain, untold suffering under this regime and I don’t care if they call an early election or a late election; the Bahamian people clearly have had enough of them.
“What they are waiting for actually is a real alternative to this PLP.”
When asked if she felt her actions and the actions of the six MPs who ousted FNM Leader Hubert Minnis as opposition leader weakened the FNM’s chances of winning the next general election, Butler-Turner said, “We will have to see what cards are played as we move forward. But I can assure you that the seven of us who exercised our constitutional rights to do what we did, along with the alliance of other opposition forces, you will certainly be able to use that as a barometer as to what people will do and whether they will actually come out in greater numbers to register.”
The MPs wrote a letter to the governor general on December 7 advising her that they have lost confidence in Minnis as the leader of the Official Opposition and asked that he be replaced by Butler-Turner.
Since the move, there has been national debate on the state of the FNM and its viability for the next general election.