Charles Savarin at the opening of Independence/Reunion 2018 on the weekend

In an unsurprising move, Charles Angelo Savarin was elected as the next President of Dominica despite strong objections from the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP)  over the constitutionality of the Parliamentary meeting convened on Monday to elect him.

The UWP had suggested that the meeting was a violation of section 19 (4) of the Constitution which it says, “only provides for such meeting after the expiration of the 14 day period allowed for nomination of candidates.”

“Pursuant to section 19 (3) of the Constitution, you informed members of the House on Thursday September 20th, 2018 that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were unable to agree on the joint nomination of a candidate for election as President,” the UWP stated in a letter to the Speaker which was made available to DNO.

According to the UWP, Section 19 (4) of the Constitution reads:

“The Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition or any three members of the House may, during the period expiring fourteen days after the day on which the House has been so informed, submit to the Speaker by writing under their hands nominations of candidates for election as President and the Speaker shall at the first meeting of the House after the expiration of that period and before the House proceeds to any other business inform the House of the nominations he has received and to which the candidates have consented,” the letter said. “This provision means that the nomination period began on Friday September 21st, 2018 and ends on Thursday October 4th, 2018. Therefore a sitting for the purpose of the election of President can only take place after the expiration of this period.”

By law, a President is nominated by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition and elected by the House of Assembly.

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit had said earlier the government has written and taken all the steps to nominate Savarin as its nominee for consideration by the Parliament but there was no joint nominee by him as Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton.

“I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition on August 3rd, 2018, indicating to him the interest of the government to nominate Mr. Charles Savarin and seeking his concurrence,” Skerrit stated. “He responded to say that give him 15 more days again, two weeks, as he will need to go across the country soliciting ideas and names and suggestions but he never got back to me.”

He said the government is proceeding to parliament, since there is no joint nominee, to elect Savarin again as the next President of Dominica.

Savarin will be sworn in tomorrow at the Goodwill Parish Hall.

Opposition members walked out of the House just before the election.