KINGSTON, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Voters in St. Vincent and Grenadines went to polls Wednesday to elect the 15-member House of the Assembly, according to news reaching here.
Some 89,527 registered voters were expected to cast their votes at 227 polling stations across the country which were opened at 7:00 a.m. local time (1100 GMT) and closed at 5:00 p.m. (2100 GMT).
The race for parliamentary seats is held mainly between the ruling Unity Labor Party (ULP) led by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) led by Arnhim Eustace, both of which have candidates for all the 15 constituencies.
Two smaller parties, the SVG Green Party and the Democratic Republican Party (DRP), also participated in the contest in some particular constituencies. But as the SVG Green Party has fielded only seven candidates and the DRP only six, neither of them could have the chance to become the majority.
The parliamentary majority will form the cabinet and its leader will become the prime minister. If the ULP wins, Gonsalves will start his fourth consecutive term as the government leader of the twin-island nation. If the NDP wins, it will end its old rival's 15-year reign.
As 11,902 registered voters are first-time voters, both Gonsalves and Eustace have tried their best to woo young voters.
In his campaign, Gonsalves emphasized the importance of young people, saying youths are "solutions to the problem of our civilization" rather than "problems to be solved." For his part, Eustace announced initiatives aimed at decreasing unemployment, which include "proposals for youth, sports, and culture."
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a unicameral parliament composed of 15 members elected every five years in single-seat constituencies. In the 2010 elections, the ULP won by a slim margin, garnering eight seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.