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Violence rocks Jamaica ahead of vote

world Updated: Sep 02, 2007 21:01 IST
Violence rocks Jamaica ahead of vote

Violence threatened to derail the last full day of campaigning on Sunday for general elections in Jamaica, after seven people were killed in suspected politically motivated attacks.

Jamaica's political ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair threatened to suspend the final day of campaigning after the seven persons were killed in separate incidents late on Friday.

Blair called an emergency meeting late Saturday with electoral officials and political representatives to discuss the worsening situation across the island ahead of Monday's scheduled balloting.

The ombudsman said officials in Jamaica would make "recommendations ... to the relevant authorities to ensure that a peaceful election is held on Monday."

"Right now we are monitoring the situation," said Blair.

Jamaicans are gearing up to vote in what is expected to be one of the closest general elections on the Caribbean island since independence in 1962.

Political tensions have been rising since the vote was postponed when Hurricane Dean ravaged the island earlier this month, and there have been reports of politically motivated shootings and fights.

The ruling People's National Party led for the first time by a woman, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, is running neck and neck in the polls with the opposition Jamaica Labour Party, led by Bruce Golding.

Labour has been rallying support with its focus on boosting the island's economy, tackling its national debt and fighting crime and corruption.