Belizean general election, 1998

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General elections were held in Belize on 27 August 1998.[1] The result was a victory for the People's United Party, which won 26 of the 29 seats and Said Musa was elected as Prime Minister for the first time. Voter turnout was 90.1%, the highest since independence.[1]

Background[edit]

The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) was widely perceived as incompetent, incapable of governing and riddled with corruption. Crime and unemployment rose while a number of government projects were universally panned. After winning nationwide municipal elections in 1994, they had lost two other municipal votes in 1996 and 1997. The PUP capitalized on the people's anger to present a manifesto of far-reaching proposals which they claimed would "Set Belize Free".

Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel advised Governor General Sir Colville Young to dissolve the House of Representatives on 13 July 1998. The House stood dissolved with effect from 15 July 1998.

Election day was set for 27 August 1998.[2] Nomination day was 11 August 1998; five political parties nominated 79 candidates, with three independents contesting.

One controversy as the election date drew near was PM Dean Barrow's rushed appointment of Manuel Sosa to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on 19 August to replace the ailing George Singh, just days before the election.[3][4] Then-opposition leader Said Musa objected to this last minute appointment, and after his party took power was able to have it overturned on the grounds that he had not been properly consulted on the appointment as required by the constitution.[5]

Results[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
People's United Party 50,330 59.67 26 +13
United Democratic Party 33,237 39.41 3 -12
People's Democratic Party 225 0.27 0 New
National Alliance for Belizean Rights 174 0.21 0 -1
National Reality Truth Creation Party 7 0.0 0 New
Independents 372 0.44 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 531 - - -
Total 84,876 100 29 0
Source: Nohlen

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p104 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  2. ^ "Election day set for August 27th". News 5 Belize. 1998-07-13. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  3. ^ "New Chief Justice to be appointed before election". News 5 Belize. 1998-08-19. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  4. ^ "Sosa sworn in as Chief Justice". News 5 Belize. 1998-08-26. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  5. ^ "Manuel Sosa sworn in as Court of Appeal Judge". News 5 Belize. 1999-06-23. Retrieved 2012-04-19.