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St. Lucia may lurch left?

Bucking recent trends in the Caribbean, the island of St. Lucia could be on the verge of voting in a leftist government.

Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that the resignation Jan. 16 of Prime Minister Winston Cenac in the wake of a five-day general strike opens the door to a leftist victory in elections due between now and July 31.

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It's not certain that interim Prime Minister Michael Pilgrim and his Labour Party will win the parliamentary contest, but as incumbent leader he will have patronage and other advantages.

Mr. Pilgrim emerged as prime minister in an effort by some islanders to prevent George Odlum, who actually heads the Labour Party, from taking the reins of government. Mr. Odlum would become prime minister if the Labour Party won the parliamentary election.

Odlum has voiced support for Grenada's Cuban-supported government and indicated he would like to take St. Lucia in the same direction. Pilgrim is more moderate and has steered clear of such views.

The resignation cleared the way for a return to normality on the small island after a chamber of commerce protest mushroomed into a general strike uniting businessmen, labor, and bureaucrats against the Cenac government.

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