ST. JOHNS, Antigua, January 9, 2023 - Independent candidate for St Peter Asot Michael plans to be “kingmaker” should there be a close result in the January 18 election in that there is a narrow majority on each side.
He claims that there are members within the Antigua Barbuda LabourParty (ABLP) who are willing to break allegiance with current Prime Minister Gaston Browne if the January 18 general election ends in a narrow majority.
Asot Michael has been on a crusade to retain his seat in the upcoming general elections on January 18 as well as to politically defeat the PrimeMinister.
Speaking on state media Michael claimed that he had no difficulties with being a “kingmaker” next Wednesday. He said “the day after the election, the Constitution is clear, any nine Parliamentarians can form the government; Gaston Browne does not get to decide whether he holds the swear-in after the elections.
“Not because traditionally he is the political leader of the party that he becomes Prime Minister; the nine or 10, however many seats the Labour Party wins, decides who becomes the Prime Minister,” Michael said.
Asot Michael, who in the last elections won on a ABLP Ticket, and is now seeking to retain his seat as an independent, claims that some members on the ABLP tickets were not “happy” with party leader Gaston Browne.
The St. Peter Member of Parliament said he would “have a louder and stronger voice”.“An independent and will also be able to work with whatever government is elected. I have to be realistic.
If the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party returns to government, I am going to work with them. “If the United Progressive Party forms the new government, I have to work with them in the interest of my constituents,” he said.
He pointed to Section 69(2) of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, which notes that “whenever there is occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister, the Governor General shall appoint as Prime Minister the person who is: a member of the House, who is the leader in the House of the political party that com-mands the support of the majority of members of the House; and where it appears to him that such party doesn't have an undisputed leader in the House, or that no party commands the support of such a majority, the member of the House who, in his judgment, is most likely to command the support of the majority of members of the House, and is willing to accept the office of Prime Minister.”
Michael rejected any claim that he was funding, supporting or had made any deal with the opposition UPP. However, when asked if he was trying to be a kingmaker in the new Parliament, Michael gave an unqualified “yes”!