Jamaican PM survives confidence vote

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Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in parliament after the opposition urged him to resign over his alleged support of a suspected drug lord wanted by the US.

On a 30-28 vote, MPs rejected a motion to censure Mr Golding for his handling of a US extradition request for Christopher "Dudus" Coke, the reputed drug kingpin.

Coke, a supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, has wielded influence over the volatile inner-city constituency that Mr Golding represents. Coke is wanted in New York on drug and gun smuggling charges. Mr Golding and his political allies opposed the extradition request for nine months before bowing to US pressure to arrest Coke and begin extradition proceedings against him.

Coke remains a fugitive after security forces clashed with his supporters in the capital last week in violence that killed at least 73 civilians.

The opposition People's National Party brought the no-confidence motion against Mr Golding because he allegedly misrepresented the facts surrounding the US extradition request for Coke. "Something is rotten in the state of Jamaica," opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller, a former prime minister, said in the debate calling for Mr Golding to step down.

She was referring to Mr Golding's recent acknowledgment, after an earlier denial, that he had sanctioned his party's hiring of a US law firm to lobby against the extradition.

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