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Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Dominica Labour Party was elected to a second five-year term in December 2009; his party received 60 percent of the vote and 18 of 21 seats in parliament. Still, strong outcry from the opposition over alleged government corruption and electoral fraud undermined the prime minister’s chances of ending the political polarization that plagued his last term.
In December, Skerrit and his DLP won both the popular vote (with 60 percent) and the majority of seats in the House of Assembly (18 of 21). Elections were deemed free and fair by observer teams from both the Organization of American States and a CARICOM mission, despite objections from opposition leaders. News agencies reported that the DLP had spent over $8 million on its campaign, and opposition candidates claimed that some of this money was spent on airline tickets for DLP supporters living abroad to return to the island to vote. Despite these allegations and others involving unfair access to television advertising, the reelection of Skerrit has been recognized worldwide.
Dominica is an electoral democracy. The government is headed by a prime minister, and the unicameral House of Assembly consists of 30 members serving five-year terms. Twenty-one members are elected, and nine senators are appointed—five by the prime minister and four by the opposition leader. The president is elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term; the prime minister is appointed by the president.