Ruling Democratic Labour Party wins Barbados election

The governing Democratic Labour Party has retained power in Barbados in a tightly fought election.

The DLP, led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, won 16 parliamentary seats in the 30-member House of Assembly.

Its victory came as a surprise, as polls had predicted a win for the opposition Barbados Labour Party. It took the remaining 14 seats.

Mr Stuart's victory will give him his first full term in office.

He took over as prime minister after the death of Prime Minister David Thompson in 2010.

"We are here tonight celebrating because this organisation during the last five years touched actual lives by its policies and by its programmes," said Mr Stuart at his party's headquarters on Friday.

It is the second straight win for the DLP, following 14 years of government by the Barbados Labour Party under the leadership of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, the current opposition leader.

Mr Arthur conceded victory early on Friday and said his party accepted the will of the people.

Mr Stuart said he would continue with his policies, despite facing very difficult economic circumstances and "the worst crisis the world has seen in a century".

Barbados recently suffered credit rating downgrades and correspondents say the governing party has had difficulty stabilising the Caribbean island's economy.

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