10 September 1998
Jamaica holds first local elections in eight years

                  KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Jamaicans cast ballots Thursday in the
                  country's first local government election in eight years.

                  More than 1.4 million voters are eligible to elect 227 members of Jamaica's
                  12 parish councils and the Kingston & St. Andrew Corp., which manages
                  the capital city.

                  Jamaican law requires local elections every three years, but parliament
                  postponed them six times while it sought voter reforms.

                  Analysts said they expected a very low turnout. "I'm not even aware who the
                  candidates for my division are and I do not care," one Kingston housewife
                  told Reuters. She vowed not to vote.

                  Members of the police force and the military voted ahead of the general
                  election, and only 20 percent of eligible voters participated in that contest
                  Sept. 7.

                  When the last local government election was held in 1990 the People's
                  National Party, fresh from its national election victory the previous year, won
                  control of 11 parish councils and the Kingston & St. Andrew Corp.

                  The People's National Party won the last parliamentary election in
                  December, and political analysts again predicted a massive victory for the

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.