Back in February I speculated that an election would be called for mid to late July. This was primarily based upon the momentum the OBA was building and the likely euphoria that would build up over the America’s Cup.
Since then, we’ve seen the opposition push for a vote of no confidence in the middle of the America’s Cup and the opposition leader suggest he thinks the election will be late July. The timing of the vote of no confidence, the push for an election and the animosity that comes from it is less than ideal for the island. The opposition has seemingly pushed fully into election mode, rolling out candidates and putting out daily press releases. They’ve seemingly ramped up fully for a late July election. Now today Shawn Crockwell has signaled that he’d vote against the government.
Even if the no confidence motion is successful, by my estimates the Premier would still have a 3 month window to call it. As a result, I suspect the Premier may either opt to call an election before the vote of no confidence takes place or take his chances and call one if he loses it. Given the strength in the recent polls and the OBA’s momentum, I suspect he’d be leaning towards calling an election anyway.
I suspect the Premier will now aim for an election in late August, just before students return to school. As far as I’m aware, the OBA has yet to deliver on their promised changes to absentee voting, thus the reason for late August vs. early September. This would allow the OBA could both publicly decry the PLP for disrupting the America’s Cup with an election as well as push their own electioneering until after the America’s Cup is over. Since the PLP has already entered heavy campaign mode, there is also the potential that the public would readily tire after nearly 4 months of heavy campaigning. It is also likely that the after effects of the America’s Cup would still be present in the form of euphoria of having money in ones pocket and the event potentially having been bigger than originally forecast. Beyond that, it’s allow for statistics and reports covering the outcome of the event to be published as well as many positive stories of who benefited.
On the PLP front I’m still a bit baffled as to why they opted to push for a vote of no confidence for June. Pitting an election right after America’s Cup seems like a bad time when the alternative could be waiting out upwards of a year for more negative fallout or controversy to capitalize on. The unions are always good for some sort of fallout and disruption every few months. Also if the vote of no confidence is successful, it will invalidate their pushed legislation which could come back to haunt them if people realize pre-election that marijuana wasn’t actually decriminalized and that the statutory interest rates weren’t changed. Ultimately the upside of forcing it now seems limited and either implies they suspect the next few months won’t be in their favor or I’m missing something.
So… a late August election? We’ll see.