By Caribbean News Now contributor
ROAD TOWN, BVI -- In accordance with Section 86 of the British Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, Acting Governor Inez Archibald has appointed June 8 as the date on which the next general election will be held in the British territory.
A proclamation to this effect was published in the Gazette on May 7.
The House of Assembly was dissolved on May 1 and Section 86 of the British Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007 states, “A general election shall be held at such a time within two months, but not earlier than twenty-one days after every dissolution of the House of Assembly as the Governor shall appoint by proclamation published in the Gazette.”
Former premier and current leader of the opposition, Ralph O'Neal, has indicated that he will not contest the 2015 election. He is the longest serving politician in the territory's history, and has held the seat for Virgin Gorda and Anegada continuously since 1975.
Premier Dr Orlando Smith
The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), led by Premier Dr Orlando Smith, will seek to defend its majority in the House. If it does so successfully, it will be the first political party in the BVI to win a consecutive term in power in 16 years. Although there had been some speculation in the press that Smith might step down before the election, no public announcement was ever made, and Smith's name appears on the list of NDP candidates for the election.
The main opposition is expected to be provided by the opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP), presently led by former minister Julian Fraser. The NDP and the VIP have alternated power between them every election since the 1999 general election.
However, the 2015 election may be the first true three-party election in the BVI since the 1995 general election. In March 2014, a new political party, the People's Empowerment Party (PEP) was launched, led by sitting member of the House, Alvin Christopher. Christopher has held his seat in the second district since 1995.