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PUP leader takes blame for by-election defeat

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Francis Fonseca

Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2015. 8:46 pm CST.

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca

Tuesday, January 6, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: Monday’s by-election result – 2,669 votes for the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) Omar Figueroa to 1,340 for the People’s United Party’s (PUP) Richard Harrison – was a surprise even to seasoned election observers, especially considering the fairly low turnout of 61%.

But a win is a win, and a loss is a loss, and the PUP’s might in the House of Representatives is dented and its momentum going into the municipal elections in March seems to be halted.

The PUP’s leader, Francis Fonseca, says the party makes no excuses for its showing and congratulated his opponents at a press briefing today for their decisive win.

Omar Figueroa victorious

Omar Figueroa victorious

It is now time, he said, for the party to evaluate itself and fix any problems it has as the election cycle heats up.

Fonseca explains that the candidate, his message, electoral resources and organizational structure will be in review for the party.

He took full responsibility and blame for the result and said the party’s review starts at the top with him and how he can help his party get over the hump.

Fonseca spoke directly to campaigners and supporters, thanking them for their work and promising that things will look up for the party.

He also reiterated his confidence in the electorate to return the PUP to power in upcoming municipal and national elections, opining that the division was “isolated” from the national pendulum which he contends is swinging against the UDP and toward the PUP.

A formal report will be submitted to the party’s next National Executive meeting due later this week.

And as for the man who started all of this – ex-representative Joseph Mahmud – Fonseca says the blue will not waste any more time on him, saying the party has nothing to gain from going after him.

Mahmud was not seen on the ground on Monday during the election, continuing his absence from the national spotlight after his sudden resignation on November 24.

Fonseca did spare time to comment on the disparity of resources between the major parties, saying that efforts toward campaign finance reform must be bipartisan.

He said the PUP is prepared to work with the UDP to initiate such reform but questioned the “incentive” of the current Administration to do so, noting that time spent in Opposition tends to broaden the political parties’ horizons.

Richard Harrison is not expected to continue as the party’s standard bearer in the division but a formal decision is expected at the National Executive meeting.

The PUP’s post-Independence record in by-elections is now 1 win and 2 losses, winning Freetown in 1993 and losing Cayo South after the death of Agripino Cawich in 2003.

 

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