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Jamaica's opposition Labour Party wins election amid economic turmoil

Preliminary results suggest that the opposition Jamaica Labour Party has narrowly won Thursday's parliamentary elections. Labour has promised jobs and tax cuts in a bid to remedy the economy.

According to provisional results released by the Electoral Commission late Thursday, the Jamaica Labour Party won 32 spots in the country's 63-seat Parliament - just enough to form a government. Turnout for Thursday's parliamentary election was 47 percent.

The Jamaica Labour Party, led by Andrew Holness (pictured), has pledged to make the economy more dynamic by scrapping income tax for many wage earners and creating 250,000 jobs on the island of 2.7 million people.

Ready to form a government as the new prime minister, Holness said his Labour Party "didn't care" that it had won the elections.

"The cost of victory is to keep the commitments we made," Holness said.

Economic troubles

Thursday's parliamentary election was expected to be a tough show for the ruling People's National Party. Facing high crime and unemployment, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller campaigned in a vain attempt to keep the top job.

After serving one term in office between 2006 and 2007, Simpson Miller returned as prime minister in 2011, faced with an ever-declining economy and one of the highest levels of debt relative to GDP in the world. Her government negotiated a $930 million (840 million euros) aid package with the IMF. The island also has one of the highest rates of homicide in the world, which is widely attributed to gangs.

ksb/jr (Reuters, AFP)

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