New prime minister sworn in after sweep in Antigua

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (AP) — A new prime minister was sworn into office Friday in Antigua following a sweep of parliamentary elections by the country’s Labor Party.

Gaston Browne became the new prime minister of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda after his Labor Party won 14 of 17 seats in the Parliament, according to the elections office. At 47, he is the youngest prime minister in the country’s history.

Ousted Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer barely held onto his own seat as his United Progressive Party was swept out after 10 years in power.

The Organization of American States said its observers found the election to be well-run but said there were long lines as about 90 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Antigua, with a population of about 90,000 people is heavily dependent on tourism, and it struggled during the global recession while still recovering from the 2009 collapse of the R. Allen Stanford’s fraudulent Antigua-based financial empire.

The Texas financier helped fund the government and was the Caribbean country’s largest private employer until U.S. authorities accused him of defrauding investors in his offshore bank.

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