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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 23:51 GMT 00:51 UK
Jamaica rivals tussle after poll
By Orin Gordon
BBC News, Kingston

JLP supporters celebrate their party's narrow victory
JLP supporters were elated after the 18 years of opposition
Jamaican opposition leader Bruce Golding pushed his way through thousands of green clad supporters who had jammed the compound of the headquarters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

To chants of "Bruce! Bruce!" and strains of Bob Marley's Coming in From the Cold, he took the mike after preliminary results from Monday's parliamentary election were announced.

His party had just squeaked home, with the narrowest winning margin possible, 31 - 29 seats.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was not conceding, saying her party, the PNP, would be "taking action" over some seats.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica would need to do a final count to certify the result, and according to Director of Elections, Danville Walker, that could take two days.

Ready to govern

Supporters had started celebrating hours before Mr Golding arrived.

Bruce Golding addresses JLP supporters
JLP leader Bruce Golding is ready for the premiership

The narrowness of the win presented a problem for him.

He could not claim the prize outright. Yet he could not show weakness in Jamaica's rough and tumble political arena or his own supporters would turn on him.

The prime minister had refused to take his call. He had to get his "victory speech" pitch perfect.

Low key and measured, he stopped short of claiming victory, but left no doubt he thought he would be forming the next government.

Mr Golding called for a transition of power in an orderly and peaceful way.

Combative talk

Across town, Mrs Simpson Miller was more combative, and made clear that she was not conceding the election.

Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller
Portia Simpson Miller is prepared to challenge the result in court

She accused people she did not name of breaking the rules by campaigning the day before the elections and of buying votes.

"We will pursue action in the courts," she vowed.

Election officials in Jamaica started the final count early Tuesday.

After the count is completed candidates can ask for recounts and take the matter to court.

Meantime the uncertainty leaves Jamaica in a political vacuum.

While the politicians have been mostly restrained after the preliminary results, the supporters may not consider themselves to be under the same obligation.

On Tuesday morning I heard a sustained burst of gunfire around the JLP headquarters in the centre of the capital.

Jamaican needs a quick resolution.

Final count in close Jamaica vote
04 Sep 07 |  Americas
Jamaica to decide on 'woman power'
03 Sep 07 |  Americas
Jamaica set for wide-open poll
31 Aug 07 |  Americas
Gang politics 'over' in Jamaica
28 Aug 07 |  Americas
Jamaica gets first woman leader
31 Mar 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Jamaica
22 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Jamaica
22 Aug 07 |  Country profiles


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