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.
“It is a magnificent victory,” Barrow said as he addressed party supporters in Belize City, who roared their approval. “The magnitude of this victory still hasn’t properly set in.”
Many voters in the country of about 350,000 people, which faces a push by neighboring Guatemala to absorb a large area of its territory, voiced apathy, seeing little scope for change whichever of the two main parties wins.
Some hoped the upstart Belize Progressive Party, which also fielded candidates, would win some seats in the national assembly. “I’m for change. We need better people … Both of the two major parties are corrupt,” said retired teacher Lorraine Gomez, her index finger stained with purple ink after voting.