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Jamaica's PM-Designate Promises Open Government


Jamaica's former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller shows her inked finger after casting her ballot in parliamentary elections in Kingston, Jamaica, December 29, 2011.

Jamaica's former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller shows her inked finger after casting her ballot in parliamentary elections in Kingston, Jamaica, December 29, 2011.

Jamaica's opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller, is promising to lead an open government following preliminary election results that show a large victory for her party.

Simpson Miller told supporters after Thursday's general election that she wants a partnership with the Jamaican people, the private sector and the media.

Simpson Miller is set to again become the country's prime minister following a win by her opposition People's National Party (PNP). Election officials say preliminary results show the party won 41 seats in the House of Representatives, two thirds of the total seats.

A final vote count is expected in the coming days.

The campaign director of the ruling Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) conceded defeat Thursday on a national television broadcast. Karl Samuda said "we have not won, the people have spoken."

Simpson Miller became Jamaica's first female prime minister in 2006, but narrowly lost re-election the following year.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness from the center-right JLP had fought to retain his position just two months after he was sworn in. The 39-year-old took power when his predecessor, Bruce Golding, resigned in a scandal over his handling of a U.S. extradition request for a notorious drug gang leader.

Now, Simpson Miller faces the task of leading her party in lowering Jamaica's 13 percent unemployment rate and tackling the country's debt-ridden and stagnant economy.

Observers said the voting was mainly smooth and peaceful, a change from previous elections marred by violence.

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