Bahamas' ruling party wins vote of confidence with sixth term

Bahamian Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, re-elected for an unprecedented sixth term, faces a decision on what to do about allegations of drug corruption that have rocked his government. Mr. Pindling led his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to a decisive victory in a general election last Friday.

The election was Pindling's first major test of public reaction to a 1984 inquiry, which reported that drug money had tainted Bahamian society, finding its way into the pockets of Pindling's cabinet ministers and close associates. It exonerated Pindling, but raised questions about his finances.

PLP leaders said the voters repudiated those allegations by giving the party another five-year term in power.

The PLP captured 31 of 49 seats, giving it a slightly narrower majority in the House of Assembly, according to unofficial results reported on state-run Radio Bahamas. The opposition took 15 seats, representing a modest increase in its strength. Independent candidates won two seats. One seat remained undecided.

After defeat, Kendal Isaacs, leader of the opposition Free National Movement (FNM), said he may have overestimated public concern about corruption when he chose it as a central campaign issue.

Some analysts said Pindling may have gained votes with his last-minute attacks on the US. Appealing to nationalist sentiment, he accused the US of trying to use the Bahamas as a scapegoat for its failure to stem the drug flow into its borders.

After the vote, PLP leaders said the US meddled in the elections in support of the opposition. The US denied the charges.

The magnitude of the PLP victory defied predictions of a closer election. The PLP said it captured 54 percent of the popular vote. The FNM said it is considering challenging election results.

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