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Originally published Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:59 AM

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St. Kitts ruling party wins in early elections

Thousands of islanders celebrated in the streets Tuesday after an election gave Prime Minister Denzil Douglas' party a fourth consecutive term.

The Associated Press

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts —

Thousands of islanders celebrated in the streets Tuesday after an election gave Prime Minister Denzil Douglas' party a fourth consecutive term.

The Labor Party claimed six of eight parliamentary seats allotted to St. Kitts, according to results announced by elections supervisor Leroy Benjamin. The opposition People's Action Movement won two seats, one more than it had in the last elections.

"We are humbled that you have granted us this rare opportunity for a fourth time," Douglas told a crowd of supporters in the capital of Basseterre, where speakers mounted on top of pickup trucks blasted calypso tunes.

Douglas, a physician who has been in office since 1995, called the elections early and led a campaign touting efforts to boost the islands' small economy, build roads and hospitals and continue paying the national debt despite the global economic crisis.

Douglas called on St. Kitts' opposition to work with his new administration.

"I extend a hand of friendship to the People's Action Movement, to its followers and to its leader, Mr. Lindsay Grant," he said. "We must now soar above petty differences and reach, instead, for the best that is within us."

Grant, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has led the opposition since 2000, did not immediately respond to e-mails or phone messages seeking comment. During the campaign, he criticized Douglas for letting debt spiral to about $2 billion and said he was out of touch with islanders.

The People's Action Movement said on its Web site there were reports of people voting in the wrong districts and improperly registered voters participating.

But Benjamin said his office received no reports of irregularities.

Chris Carter, part of a Commonwealth observer team that visited all 94 polling centers, said the vote was peaceful and orderly.

The Nevis-based Concerned Citizens Movement held on to its two seats, and the Nevis Reformation Party kept its single spot, Benjamin said.

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