Jamaica: Election Outlook
Prime Minister Manley's surprisinglycampaign is dampening predictions of an overwhelming victory for the opposition Jamaica Labor Party in the coming election.
JAMAICA: ELECTION OUTLOOK
Prime Minister Manley's surprisingly effectiveis dampening predictions of an overwhelming victory for; the opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) in the coming election. Although Kanley is closing the gap, the Labor Party is maintaining alead that will be difficult for the Prime Minister to In the month before theto be held early nextin the ruling People's National Party (PNP) will launch their final drive, possibly bya last round ofviolence to be blamed on the JLP.
Setting the Date
The moderate-controlled electoral advisory committee which is laying the groundworkeasonably open elec tion, was expected to finish its work by the end of The committee, which managed en efficientof voters despite high levels of urban violence, last week was validating voter lists and setting up the last ofolling stations across the island. After the committee makes its final report to Manley, he will announce the date of the vote, probably at the PNP's annual conferencectober. According to tradition, the election would then take place about 4date favored by local rumor.
The Prime Minister's energetic campaign is convincing many local observers that he can win. B- is using the International Monetary Fundor government mismanagement and is waging an anti-CIA propaganda blitz to blame the United States for the plight of the ment.
The PHP's campaign has rallied Hanley's formerlyfollowersore aggressive effort to win over uncommitted voters. Accordingeliable poll taken this month, the PHP has gained four percentage points sincethe JLP's lead in the popular votetillercent. Manley's support will increase if the JLP's campaign peaks early or runs
short ofpecter its leader, Edward Seaga, raises dramatically, possibly to elicit contributions. Moreover,ercent of the sample in the poll was either undecided or disinclined to vote, which gives theeasonable prospect to close the gap even further. Historically, however, the holdouts have divided their votes evenly between the parties.
Tensions and street violence probably will increase significantly in the formal campaignset to run from the first week of October to the first week of November. To boost their position further, PHP radicals conceivably could call
and some politicized membersational Home Guard. While these groups probably could nothowdown with the security forces and JLP gunmen, they could be used selectively to provide Manley with sore incremental gains he apparently believes could add upictoryhoto finish.
Although the JLP undoubtedly has loat ground in recent months, it atill has the advantage. The party retains support in thetraditionalholds more parliamentary seats overall than the urban centers where Hanley's fortunes are The recent poll, for example, translated the JLP's popular voteajority ofoeats inmember House of Representatives. Despite Hanley's momentum, he probably will have increasing difficulty in the final weeks as he confronts the bedrock of opposition support steadily built up over two years of acute economic hardship among organized labor, small farmers, theand business classes, and the security forces.Original document.