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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Bahamas government ousted in poll
Hubert Ingraham
Mr Ingraham says too much power is being handed to foreign investors
Voters in the Bahamas have ousted the governing Progressive Liberal Party in favour of the opposition Free National Movement, unofficial results show.

Results broadcast on state TV had the Free National Movement winning 23 seats in the 41-seat legislature.

The party is led by former prime minister Hubert Ingraham.

The party of Prime Minister Perry Christie, who has called his rival to concede defeat, claimed 18 seats, the Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation said.

The government of Mr Christie, which won a landslide victory in 2002, had been under fire in recent months on a number of issues, including the alleged fast-tracking of the residence permit of the now deceased American model Anna Nicole Smith.

"The people of the Bahamas have spoken," Mr Ingraham said as he addressed thousands of cheering supporters, dressed in his party's trademark red, in the capital Nassau.

"We will devote all of our energies to the continued development of our nation in every respect - economic, political, social and cultural," Mr Ingraham said.

"We ask our political opponents and all Bahamians to join us in this endeavour."

Residency law

Ousted leader, Mr Christie, had campaigned for a second term by highlighting the $20bn in outside investment and tourism projects which were pumped into the nation of 700 islands during his time in office.

However, Mr Ingraham had successfully argued that too much had been done to accommodate foreign investors, saying that it would be preferable for land to be leased rather than sold to non-Bahamians:

"They simply sign on to just about any outrageous proposal that winds up in the inbox on their desks," he said of the government at a recent campaign rally. "Once the land is sold, it's gone."

Mr Ingraham also said that he would consider scrapping a law which affords foreigners residency if they buy a home in the country.

It follows on from a row over the residency application by the late Playboy model and actress Anna Nicole Smith.

Immigration minister Shane Gibson was forced to quit amid reports that he had fast-tracked Smith's application for residency.

Mr Gibson apologised for any embarrassment he may have caused the country but denied any wrong-doing.




SEE ALSO
Minister quits in Anna Nicole row
19 Feb 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Bahamas
03 May 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bahamas
03 May 07 |  Country profiles

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