2008 Belizean general election
A legislative election was held in the nation of Belize on February 7, 2008. Beginning with this election, Belizeans elected 31 members to the House of Representatives of Belize instead of 29. In what was considered an upset, the opposition United Democratic Party won the election with 25 out of 31 seats. A national referendum had been called to determine the views of Belizeans on an elected Senate. In August 2003 Cayo South Area Rep. Agripino Cawich of the PUP died, triggering a by-election in the constituency, only the second held in Belize since independence; the by-election was won by the UDP's John Saldivar, who had lost to Cawich in the general election earlier in 2003. Saldivar's win flipped the constituency to the UDP column and increased the party's caucus to eight for the remainder of the term; the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research released the results of an opinion poll conducted in conjunction with SJC's Belizean Studies Centre in October 2005. In an election 49% of voters would consider voting for a third party.
As a followup, SPEAR conducted a second poll released on October 31, 2006. When asked who they would vote for, 32 % said 11.8 % PUP and 22 % a third party. Smaller numbers either said they declined to say who they would vote for; the nation's largest newspaper, the Amandala, headlined that more than half of Belizeans had rejected the PUP and UDP by either supporting a third party or declining to vote. In March 2007, the University of Belize and Saint John's College Junior College's Belizean Studies Centre conducted a one-weekend poll of 430 randomly selected persons seeking opinions on the 2008 elections; the poll was supervised by BSC's Yasmine Andrews. On the question of approval of party leaders, the UDP's Dean Barrow led all contestants with 55.7% approval. Results by party were similar, with the UDP scoring 55.5%, the PUP 16% and independents scores ranging from 2 to 9%. Beginning in March 2007 and continuing through April 22, Belize's 193 villages held council elections on Sundays of every weekend except for Easter.
While the Village Council elections are supposed to be non-partisan, the major parties and independents considered them a litmus test for the general elections. From the beginning and forth charges of inaccurate statistics and party favoritism have stained the elections, with both the blue and the red claiming victory in the majority of contested seats. Press releases from both parties claim victory; the results are detailed below. Results of Village Council elections 2007 Prime Minister Said Musa twice had chances to dissolve the House of Representatives in session, on November 16, 2007 and December 19, 2007. However, Musa committed to calling elections before the date when they were last held. With the announcement on Monday, January 7, 2008, the House was dissolved from that date. 93 candidates from six parties were nominated Monday, January 21, 2008 and elections were held on Thursday, February 7, 2008. The date chosen was one day behind Ash Wednesday, February 6. Campaigning kicked off in earnest from as early as summer 2007.
The ruling PUP have rolled out a number of programs designed to woo the electorate, including the promise of free textbooks for primary school students, improved infrastructure on the deep southside of Belize City and a planned rollout of a health insurance scheme in early 2008. Prime Minister Said Musa spent much of the early summer touring the South and West and continued his tour of the country in September and October; the PUP held a press conference on January 7, 2008 and announced pay increases for soldiers and public officers to take place after the general election. They released their manifesto "Believe in Belize-The BLUEprint" on January 22; the United Democratic Party, for its part, concentrated on shoring up support in the districts and fighting fires in the various municipal governments they have controlled since March 2006. Party Leader Dean Barrow has toured much of the country since June. Both parties' journalism machinery have dug up various scandals on either side; the Elections and Boundaries Department have noted an increase in the number of voter transfers between divisions done in July and August.
The UDP released its election manifesto, Imagine the Possibilities: 2008-13, to a cheering crowd of supporters at its party headquarters in Belize City on January 16, 2008. Several third parties participated. Among them are established parties Vision Inspired by the People out of Belmopan and We the People Reform Movement from the North, Cornelius Dueck's National Reform Party and Wil Maheia's People's National Party Attempts by third parties to unify have proven unsuccessful; the Amandala of March 18, 2007 indicated that the PNP and WTP had formed an alliance and were expected to announce their combined slate soon. The parties wrote joint letters to the Amandala in pre-election issues
United Democratic Party (Belize)
The United Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in Belize. It is the ruling party, having won 2012 and 2015 general elections. A centre-right conservative party, the UDP is led by Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow. In 1973 political opposition in Belize was weak and the ruling People's United Party had never lost a legislative election since its foundation; the main opposition parties, the National Independence Party and the People's Development Movement met together with a new Liberal Party to consider forming an alliance to fight the PUP. The resulting merger formed the United Democratic Party on 27 September 1973. Controversially, a significant portion of the United Black Association for Development voted to join the UDP upon foundation; the UDP's first electoral test was the 1974 general election in which it fielded candidates nationwide except in Corozal District, where it supported candidates from the Corozal United Front. It won six seats, was within 18 votes of winning three more.
Former People's Development Movement head. The party had success in municipal elections during the 1970s, but failed to defeat the PUP in the 1979 general elections, its representation in the House of Representatives dropped to five seats and party leader Lindo lost his seat to Said Musa and was replaced as leader by Theodore Aranda. Despite internal divisions, the party retained control of three towns in the December 1981 municipal elections In late 1982 Aranda was removed as party leader and replaced by Curl Thompson, who in turn was replaced by former Liberal Party leader Manuel Esquivel following a convention. In December 1983 the UDP won Belize City Council elections and the following year they were victorious in the general elections, winning 21 of the 28 seats. However, they lost power in the 1989 elections, winning 13 seats to the PUP's 15. For the 1993 elections the party formed an alliance with the National Alliance for Belizean Rights; the alliance won 16 of the 29 seats, with the UDP taking fifteen.
However, they were soundly defeated in the 1998 elections as the PUP won 26 of the 29 seats, after which Esquivel was replaced by Barrow as party leader. The PUP remained in power following the 2003 elections. After ten years in opposition, the UDP won the 2008 general elections. Dean Lindo Theodore Aranda Curl Thompson Manuel Esquivel Dean Barrow Official website The Guardian Party newspaper
1984 Belizean general election
General elections were held in Belize on 14 December 1984. The result was a victory for the opposition United Democratic Party. Voter turnout was 75.0%. The election was the first in Belize since it achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. In its more than 30 years of existence the ruling People's United Party had never lost an election at the national level, whilst the opposition had never won more than six seats. However, by 1984 the PUP were presiding over an economy in recession and that had just been bailed out by the IMF; the party was internally fractured and faced a United Democratic Party that had made significant gains since losing the last general election in 1979. Senator Manuel Esquivel – who Prime Minister George Price defeated in his own House constituency in 1979 – became UDP leader in December 1983. Just a few months before the election, Price ordered a redistricting of electoral boundaries; this created 10 new constituencies for a total of 28, but the majority were upset because of claims that the PUP drew the boundaries with victory in mind.
Esquivel was elected in the newly created Caribbean Shores House constituency, while Price himself was defeated in his Freetown constituency after over 30 years of continuous service in the Belize House of Representatives and its predecessors. Esquivel succeeded Price as prime minister to become the first non-PUP leader in the nation's history. Price continued to lead the PUP from outside the National Assembly while Florencio Marin became Leader of the Opposition
Constituencies of Belize
Belize's 6 districts are politically divided into 31 constituencies. Each constituency sends one representative to Belize's House of Representatives for 5-year terms; this election is known as the General Election. Each person votes for the candidate they would want to represent their constituency in Central Government; each political party nominates Standard Bearer for each constituency. The winner becomes the Area Representative of the constituency, while the loser remains the Standard Bearer of that constituency for his/her political party. Belize's constituencies are divided in such a way that their voting population be as equal as possible to each other ensuring, that resources are shared among the country's citizens, as required by the constitution. After the 2003 General Elections two additional constituencies were created from territory of existing constituencies in order to further ensure the equality of the voting populations among the constituencies. Coming out of January 2008, the most populous constituency had a voting population of 7,085 while the least populous constituency had a voting population of 3,195.
In Belize's 2003 General Elections, 29 constituencies voted in their Area Representatives for Belize's House of Representatives. Since it was noted that the difference in voting populations between the most and least populous constituencies was rather large. In 2004 a Task Force was appointed by Boundaries Commission to study the matter, their Final Report was submitted in October 2004. It is noted that the Elections and Boundaries Department has the right to reassess constituencies after the latest census or population estimate. Among several things that their report suggested, the expansion of the Cayo District's number of constituencies to six had the most impact; the following year the law was passed to create two additional constituencies within the boundaries of Cayo. The newly created constituencies are Belmopan, containing the capital city of that name, Cayo North East, centered on Spanish Lookout; these new constituencies held their first-ever election during the General Election in 2008.
Below are the Districts and their respective constituencies: Belize District Albert Belize Rural Central Belize Rural North Belize Rural South Caribbean Shores Collet Fort George Freetown Lake Independence Mesopotamia Pickstock Port Loyola Queen's Square Cayo District Belmopan Cayo Central Cayo North Cayo North East Cayo South Cayo West Corozal District Corozal Bay Corozal North Corozal South East Corozal South West Orange Walk District Orange Walk Central Orange Walk East Orange Walk North Orange Walk South Stann Creek District Dangriga Stann Creek West Toledo District Toledo East Toledo West Below is a list of the voting population by constituency as of March 2015, sorted out by districts for ease of reference. Note that these populations are for Belizean citizens who are eligible to vote and does not represent actual population; as of March 2015 the voting population of Belize is estimated at 148,026 while the total population is estimated at 301,300. The Voter Age Population, i.e. all persons over the age of eighteen, is 161,677, or 53.66% of the total population.
Of these, more than 91 percent are registered. Males outnumber females in the population, though the gap is noticeable in the larger urban areas such as Belize City, home to 10 constituencies. Below is the chronological order for the creation of Belize's current constituencies. 1954 The following were the nine original constituencies created for the British Honduras Legislative Assembly: Belize District: Belize North, Belize Rural, Belize South, Belize West Cayo District: Cayo Corozal District: Corozal Orange Walk District: Orange Walk Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Toledo District: Toledo 1961 In a major nationwide redistricting, all of the previous constituencies were abolished and replaced with the following, doubling the total number of constituencies to 18: Belize District: Albert, Belize Rural North, Belize Rural South, Fort George, Mesopotamia, Pickstock Cayo District: Cayo North, Cayo South Corozal District: Corozal North, Corozal South Orange Walk District: Orange Walk North, Orange Walk South Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Town, Stann Creek Rural Toledo District: Toledo North, Toledo South 1973 British Honduras renamed Belize.
The British Honduras Legislative Assembly becomes the Belize House of Representatives. 1979 The following were renamed: Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Town renamed Dangriga, Stann Creek Rural renamed Stann Creek West. 1984 The following constituencies were created: Belize District: Caribbean Shores, Lake Independence, Queen's Square, Port Loyola Cayo District: Cayo Central, Cayo West Corozal District: Corozal Bay Orange Walk District: Orange Walk Central, Orange Walk East The following were altered: Corozal District: Corozal South was split into Corozal South East and Corozal South West Toledo District: Toledo North and Toledo South were abolished, replaced by Toledo East and Toledo West 1993 The following constituency was created: Belize District: Belize Rural Central 2008 The following constituencies were created: Cayo District: Belmopan, Cayo North East Politics of Belize Districts of Belize Belize Elections & Boundaries Department's Map of Belize's Constituencies Government of Belize's Official Website Boundary Re-districting
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and was once the capital of the former British Honduras. According to the 2010 census, Belize City has a population of 57,169 people in 16,162 households, it is at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, a tributary of the Belize River. The Belize River empties into the Caribbean Sea five miles from Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on the coast of the Caribbean; the city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tendered by local citizens; the city was entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on October 31. It was the capital of British Honduras until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970. Belize City was founded as "Belize Town" in 1638 by English lumber harvesters, it had been a small Maya city called Holzuz. Belize Town was ideal for the English as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for local rivers and creeks down which the British shipped logwood and mahogany.
Belize Town became the home of the thousands of African slaves brought in by the English to toil in the forest industry. It was the coordination site for the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye, won by the British against would-be invaders, the home of the local courts and government officials up to the 1970s. For this reason, historians say that "the capital was the colony", because the center of British control was here; this sentiment remains true today. Though people like Antonio Soberanis, George Price and Evan X Hyde all lobbied to take their movements outside, other ethnic groups such as the Garifuna and Mestizos sprang up elsewhere in the country, people looked to Belize Town for guidance. Belize City has been directly struck by two hurricanes since 1900, the 1931 hurricane and 1961's Hurricane Hattie, at various times areas of the city have burnt down, the most recent being the 1999 Albert Street fire that burnt out Mikado's, a 2004 fire that destroyed the Paslow Building; the city was hit hard by Hurricane Richard in 2010 and by the 2016 Hurricane Earl.
Fires on Northside and Southside have burnt out great stretches of housing, but the fire department was able to quench most of these. The city is susceptible to flooding in the rainy season. Belize City spreads out Mile 6 on the Western Highway and Mile 5 on the Northern Highway, at the Haulover Bridge; the city proper is divided into two areas: Northside, bounded by Haulover Creek and ending in the east at the Fort George area, Southside, extending to the outskirts of the city and the port area including downtown. Politically, it is divided into ten constituencies. Freetown, the westernmost constituency on Northside, is home to the Belama, Coral Grove, Buttonwood Bay and Vista Del Mar suburbs. Within the city proper it extends up to around the former Belize Technical College area. Caribbean Shores includes Kings' Park, a small suburb north and west of Freetown Road, West Landivar, home to two of the University of Belize's three city campuses, residential University Heights. Pickstock inhabits the banks of the Haulover Creek extending to Barrack Road.
St. John's Cathedral stands on the southern end of Albert Street. St. John's is the oldest Anglican Church in Central America, one of the oldest buildings in Belize; the orange bricks came to Belize aboard British ships as ballast. Construction began in 1812, the church was completed in 1820. St. John's is the only Anglican cathedral in the world outside England where the crowning of kings took place. Fort George is the most colonial area in the city and contains Memorial Park, the Baron Bliss Grave and Baron Bliss Lighthouse and the Museum of Belize. On the Southside, Lake Independence and Port Loyola are home to some of the city's poorest residents. "London bridges", rickety wooden pallets linking dwellings, low-strung poles are not uncommon here. On the east side of Central American Boulevard are Mesopotamia, Queen's Square and Albert, which are better. Albert contains the downtown streets of Albert and Regent Streets; the divisions of the city are linked by four bridges: the Swing Bridge, at Market Square and North Front Street.
Numerous smaller bridges link individual streets. The three main canals running in Belize City, are Haulover Creek, Burdon Canal and Collet Canal. All of them run through Southside; the city is served by Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, in Ladyville, northwest of Belize City, by Belize City Municipal Airport, within the city itself. Belize City features a tropical monsoon climate, with warm and humid conditions throughout the course of the year; the city has a lengthy wet season that runs from May through January and a short dry season covering the remaining three months. However, as is the characteristic of several cities with tropical monsoon climates, Belize City sees some precipitation during its dry season. March is Belize City's driest month with only 48 mm of precipitation observed, a somewhat unusual month for a city with this climate type; the driest month for a city with a tropical monsoon climate is the month after the winter solstice, which in Belize City would be January.
Average monthly temperatures remain constant throughout the course of the year, ranging from 23 °C to 28 °C. B