ST GEORGE's, Grenada (UPI) -- Six political parties in Grenada closed their month-long election campaigns Monday as voters prepared to choose a government for the next five years.
Officials said 58,268 Grenadians -- 10,000 more than in the 1984 general election -- are eligible to vote in Tuesday's elections to select from 76 candidates vying for 15 parliamentary seats. Six of the candidates are women.
The parties closed out their campaigns with rallies and motorcades throughout the tiny, English-speaking spice island.
Polling stations were scheduled to open at 6 a.m. Tuesday (7 a.m. EST) and close 12 hours later. Initial results are expected by Tuesday night.
A public opinion poll has given the National Democratic Congress (NDC) the edge, saying it is likely to capture a majority in the parliament, which will allow the party to form the next government.
Also strong contenders, according to political observers, are the Grenada United Labor Party led by one-time Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy and Keith Mitchell's National Party.
Other parties in the battle are The National Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Ben Jones, the Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement, headed by Cuban-trained doctor Terry Marryshow, and the Good Old Democracy party led by Justin Francis McBurnie.
Jones took office when former Prime Minister Herbert Blaize died in December.
Gairy, one-time prime minister, was overthrown in March 1979 by Maurice Bishop of the New Jewel Movement party. Bishop installed himself as prime minister, but was ousted and killed by dissidents within his administration led by Bernard Coard.
Coard was removed in October 1983 when 5,000 U.S. troops accompanied by 250 police from Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Vincent and Barbados invaded the island.
About 800 Cuban construction workers who were building an airstrip on Grenada left the island after the invasion.
Most of Grenada's 110,000 people are mixed descendants of white settlers, African slaves and Caribbean Indians. The dominant religions are Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. English is the official language, although a French dialect is spoken in isolated villages.
Grenada, which lies about 100 miles north of Venezuela at the southern end of a string of volcanic islands, is renown for its nutmeg, cocoa and cinnamon. It is home to the American-owned St. George's University, a medical school with an enrollment of 600 students, most of them U.S. citizens.