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Bermudians vote for change

In late night drama the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) ended the Progressive Labour Party’s 14-year rule. It was a tight race with OBA winning 19 seats to the PLP’s 17, with the deciding seat in St George’s West being decided by just 4 votes.

Margins are small here, where a handful of votes can easily swing a constituency, but after current Premier Paula Cox unprecedentedly lost her own seat of Devonshire North West the writing was on the wall that Bermudians, driven by younger voters, wanted change.

Cox, who had the joint role of Finance Minister, was noble in defeat but she was just one of many notable scalps that the opposition took across the island.

OBA had been ahead in the polls but due to tactical changes in constituency boundaries by the government and the time-honoured PLP vote handed down through the generations, it made the outcome too close to call. Nonetheless the OBA not only won the popular vote by 15,949 to 14,218 with Independents taking a key 695 votes, but also overturned many PLP strongholds. In fact many of the PLP MP’s held onto their seats by just single or double digits making the OBA’s victory more emphatic than it first seems.

OBA leader and newly sworn in Premier Craig Cannonier (photo) celebrated with supporters on Reid Street late into the night and now the OBA have a tremendous opportunity to not just to reignite the economy but show that Bermuda can once again find the inventiveness and imagination that put this isolated 21 sq. mile island on the global map.

Whilst international business on the island would have slept well last night, young Bermudians especially should be proud that they drove change in a country that hasn’t seen much of it in recent years.

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