Prime Minister Gaston Browne has hinted at general elections in 2023 which he said is likely to happen between the months of January and April.
He made the pronouncement while addressing the Scrutineers Pension Bill during parliament on Thursday afternoon.
“I’m not aware that there is any administration that would have called an election outside of the first quarter of any given year … it is the strongest economic period of the year,” he said in response to speculation by opposition members of parliament.
His latest statement is a deviation from past indications he made of a possible early or snap election.
In June 2020, after the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) named its first four candidates, Mr. Browne hinted that general elections could be held as early as November of 2021.
Another indication of possible early elections, was in June of 2021 when the Cabinet instructed the Supervisor of Elections to make the arrangements to purchase ballot paper and to acquire all other supplies necessary to conduct free and fair elections “in quick order”
Information Minister Melford Nicholas told reporters then that the move was necessary if the prime minister decided to call the elections early.
In October, political analyst, Peter Wickham predicted that elections would be called in December or early January, saying the latter is a perfect month to hold elections given the increased economic activity.
Analyst, Arvel Grant, on the other hand banked on a 2022 announcement, saying any delay would be dangerous. He believed that the prime minister would use the independence activities as a “launch pad”.
Fresh rumors indicate that the election date may be weeks away from being announced.
Billboards have already been erected across the country and major road works are underway. Debt forgiveness on utility bills and property tax amnesty have been announced by the government.
The Prime Minister must give a minimum of three weeks and a maximum of six weeks’ notice for a general election to take place. General elections in Antigua and Barbuda is constitutionally due by March 2023.