Speaking this evening in the House of Parliament, Holness said he has advised the Governor General to dissolve Parliament on Thursday, August 13.
Holness’ announcement came following a vote in the House of Representatives to end the current States of Emergency by August 17, fulfilling his pledge not to hold elections under emergency powers.
The House of Representatives also agreed to extend the current four Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) by another 60 days.
“We will be quick, we will be efficient, we will be peaceful,” Holness told Parliament after making the announcement.
“We're having an election in a pandemic… the kind of campaign to which we're accustomed may not be the kind of campaign that will materialise,” he said.
Both the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) are expected to field a full slate of 63 candidates while the newly formed Jamaica Progressive Party could have candidates in two-thirds of the seats.
Some 1,913,410 persons are on the July 31 voters' list, up from 1,824,410 in the February 2016 election, in which the JLP led by Holness took a one-seat win over the PNP, which was led by Portia Simpson Miller.
The elections are being held against the background of a rise in COVID-19 cases, which could impact voter turnout.
In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, hundreds of thousands of people have either lost their jobs or are earning reduced salaries since the virus was confirmed in Jamaica on March 10.
The elections are also being held against the background of widespread allegations of corruption in the Holness administration, which has resulted in the resignation of two government ministers, and the shifting of portfolios of others.
Despite this however, Jamaicans, in opinion polls, have given the Government the thumbs up for the management of the pandemic, and have said they trust Holness more than Phillips to lead the rebuilding of Jamaica's economy after COVID-19.
The Planning Institute of Jamaica has projected that the economy will contract by between four per cent and six per cent in fiscal year 2020-21 versus a pre-COVID forecast of 1.2 per cent growth.
- Countries: Jamaica
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