With the dust basically settled on the elections we can talk reasonably about it. The JLP upset the pollsters and won the election, while pundits were even more dumbfounded by the anemic voter turnout.
Andrew can be proud of his win, he had an excellent ground game in the constituencies that we all knew would be the deciders, while running on a platform of positivity and upliftment. He should however not be too pleased, for two reasons in particular. With only a three seat majority, it is clear that while the people did not want the PNP, they weren’t quite sold on the JLP and there talk of prosperity. That should be a cause of worry as that means that any slip up, perceived or real, will be pounced upon by the PNP.
The other worry is the extremely low voter turnout. This should be a worry because it shows that his message still isn’t hitting home with the slice of the electorate that he wants. He is viewed by many as a replica of his JLP predecessor, big on words short on action. He is also viewed with suspicion as he builds up what is eerily looking like a garrison in his constituency.
These are issues that can be overcome, but to do so would mean showing some real political wisdom. He has come a far way since foolishly calling an early election in 2011, and has been forged by his leadership battle with Audley. Whether or not he is up to this new challenge, we will see shortly.
He can’t afford to renege on any promises, nor can he afford any walk backs, if he has learned anything from the last two elections it that the little who do vote are fickle. He is also going to have to walk a tightrope as it relates to the IMF, any perceived slip up on that front will see him strung up by the private sector and the economically literate.
His cabinet will have to be markedly smaller, younger and more diverse, or he will have lost the youth who voted for him in droves. And finally he will have to negotiate the tricky public sector reform, with the massive job losses that he has alluded to he will have a hell of a time appeasing the soon to be unemployed.
All in all it was a stunning victory but he will be walking a chalk line, hemmed in by a razor thin majority on one side and his promises on the other it will be interesting to see if he can pull this off.