Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow won a record third term in a snap general election in the tiny English-speaking Central American country on Wednesday, after his party gained a clear majority in parliament. Barrow, a 64-year-old lawyer, called the vote in late September more than a year ahead of schedule amid signs his political opponents were regrouping and fears generous Venezuelan aid crucial to his budget may be at risk. With official results announced from 29 of the country’s 31 constituencies, Barrow’s United Democratic Party (UDP) won 19 while the main opposition People’s United Party (PUP) had taken 10, election official Jennevieve Gladden said.
Both of Belize’s two main political parties concluded the campaign for Wednesday’s general elections expressing confidence. The ruling United Democratic Party and the main opposition People’s United Party have each nominated candidates for all 31 constituencies, while the newly formed People’s Progressive Party is contesting 25 seats.
Ambassador Frank Almaguer, chief of the Organization of American States’ (OAS’s) Elections Observer Mission, said Thursday that Belize’s dual (municipal and general) elections of Wednesday, March 7, 2012, were “a peaceful exercise of [the voting] franchise,” and the general elections was “a historically close election and certainly highly competitive.” However, in a report to Belize media Thursday, Almaguer pointed to a number of key election issues, such as the use of government assets for electioneering, the lack of female inclusion on the ballot, the lack of campaign finance legislation, and electioneering very close to the polls on election day.
Belize’s ruling United Democratic Party has won the country’s general elections with a total of 17 out of 31 seats, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai told Caribbean Journal. The voting “went smoothly in most areas,” Tamai said, with a turnout of approximately 73.11 percent, according to official results. Several seats won by narrow margins could face legal challenges, however.
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has today announced General Elections for 7 March 2012. In an official press release issued today by the Government Press Office Mr. Barrow who was elected to office for a five year term on 7 February 2008, stated that he had called on Governor General Sir Colville Young to dissolve the National Assembly on Friday February 3rd and set the date for Belize general elections one year before they are due. In his statement to the nation aired on all radio and television stations this morning Mr. Barrow said that as municipal elections are due on March 7th, he had decided to have General Elections on the same date to save resources and expenses. Under Belize law municipal elections are held every 3 years and General Elections every 5 years. The dates for municipal elections are set but the general elections can be called at any time with the prime minister giving 30 days notice.