Belize’s UDP Wins Narrow Re-election; Opposition Gains Eight Seats


Above: Prime Minister Dean Barrow (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

By Alexander Britell

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.

The UDP’s win in the Cayo Central division came by a total of 44 votes, according to Tamai, while its victory in the Cayo North East division came by just 17 votes.

No recounts were permitted by the presiding officers in those areas, however, and should the People’s United Party choose to challenge those decisions, they will have to do so in the courts.

The victory means another term for Prime Minister Dean Barrow, whose party rose to power in 2008 after a 10 years of PUP leadership.

Barrow made debt service on the country’s Superbond a campaign issue, and the UDP’s win could mean a renegotiation of that $546.8 million debt.

The vote was a stronger showing for the PUP and its leader, Francis Fonseca, representing an increase of 8 seats compared to 2008.