United Democratic Party (Belize)

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United Democratic Party
LeaderDean Barrow
Founded27 September 1973
Merger ofNational Independence Party
People's Development Movement
Liberal Party
United Black Association for Development (partial)
HeadquartersYouth for the Future Drive, Belize City, Belize
NewspaperThe Guardian
Youth wingYouth Popular Front
Political positionCentre-right[4][5]
International affiliationInternational Democratic Union
Regional affiliationCaribbean Democrat Union
Seats in the Senate
6 / 13
Seats in the House
19 / 31
Local government
41 / 67
Party flag
Flag of the Belize United Democratic Party.svg

The United Democratic Party (UDP) is one of the two major political parties in Belize. It is the ruling party, having won the 2008, 2012 and 2015 general elections. A centre-right conservative party, the UDP is led by Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow.


United Democratic Party flag in Corozal.

In 1973 political opposition in Belize was weak and the ruling People's United Party (PUP) 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 also voted to join the UDP upon foundation.[7]

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, and was within 18 votes of winning three more. Former People's Development Movement head Dean Lindo was subsequently named party leader; 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.[8] 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.[8] 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, in which the UDP only won seven seats. After ten years in opposition, the UDP won the 2008 general elections, taking 25 of the 31 seats.[9]

List of leaders[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

House of Representatives elections[edit]

House of Representatives
Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Role in government
1974 Dean Lindo 9,069 38.93%
6 / 18
Increase 6 In opposition
1979 Dean Lindo 21,045 47.4%
5 / 18
Decrease 1 In opposition
1984 Manuel Esquivel 25,756 54.1%
21 / 28
Increase 16 In government
1989 Manuel Esquivel 28,900 49.0%
13 / 28
Decrease 8 In opposition
1993 Manuel Esquivel 34,306

(In alliance with NABR)

16 / 29
Increase 3 In government
1998 Manuel Esquivel 33,237 39.41%
3 / 29
Decrease 12 In opposition
2003 Dean Barrow 45,376 45.57%
7 / 29
Increase 4 In opposition
2008 Dean Barrow 66,203 56.61%
25 / 31
Increase 17 In government
2012 Dean Barrow 64,976 50.37%
17 / 31
Decrease 8 In government
2015 Dean Barrow 71,452 50.52%
19 / 31
Increase 2 In government


  1. ^ Debusmann, Bernd (10 January 1985), "Ex-Colony Fears Guatemala : Belize Wants Britain's Troops to Stay on Its Soil", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 5 March 2012
  2. ^ Gunson, Phil (1991). The dictionary of contemporary politics of Central America and the Caribbean. Routledge. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-415-02445-7.
  3. ^ "Belize", Hutchinson country facts, Helicon, retrieved 5 March 2012
  4. ^ Freedom in the World 2011 – Belize, Freedom House, 12 May 2011, archived from the original on 13 September 2012
  5. ^ Country overview: Belize, TrustLaw, archived from the original on 18 September 2012, retrieved 5 March 2012
  6. ^ " MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS OFFICIAL RESULTS 4th MARCH 2015 Archived 13 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission. (accessed 16 March 2015)
  7. ^ Hyde, Evan X, "From The Publisher" Amandala, 24 October 2008. (accessed 10 May 2015)
  8. ^ a b Nohlen, p106
  9. ^ Belize's opposition party wins landslide in congressional elections Associated Press, 9 February 2008

External links[edit]