People's National Party
|People's National Party|
|House Speaker||Micheal Peart|
|Youth wing||People's National Party Youth Organization|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (observer)|
|House of Representatives|
|Politics of Jamaica
The People's National Party (PNP) is a centre-left Jamaican political party founded in 1938 and initially led by Norman Manley. It currently holds a majority in the House of Representatives with 42 of the 63 seats, as well as a majority of local government bodies with 151 of the 228 divisions. The party is democratic socialist by constitution, but has embraced policies of neoliberalism since it was elected to govern in 1989.
The PNP uses the hatted head, the rising sun, the fist, the trumpet and the colours orange, red and yellow as electoral symbols.
The PNP is the oldest political party in the Anglophone Caribbean and one of the main two political parties in Jamaica. Of the two major parties, it is considered more to the left than its main rival, the Jamaica Labour Party. It has held the majority of seats in the Jamaican Parliament between 1972 to 1980, from 1989 to September 2007, when the JLP won the general election. It regained the majority in the December 2011 general election. The party is a member of the Socialist International.
The PNP was defeated in the first universal elections held in Jamaica in 1944, winning only four of the 32 seats (one elected independent joined the party afterwards). It came to office again in 1955, and held office until just before independence in 1962. The party was defeated that year by its principal rival, the Jamaica Labour Party. During this period of government, it promoted actively reformist social democratic policies, including opening secondary education to many poorer Jamaicans through state funding of scholarships.
Ten years later, under the leadership of its founder's son, Michael Manley, it returned to office committed to democratic socialism and a foreign policy focused on strengthening relations with the Global South. In 1980, the Jamaica Labour Party led by Edward Seaga overwhelmingly defeated the PNP, after several years characterised by inflation and rising unemployment, and in a campaign noteworthy for an alarming level of violence. Manley led the party in a boycott of the snap election called in 1983. The party was absent from parliament for more than five years.
In 1989, it was returned to office under Manley's leadership. Manley retired from politics in 1992, and was replaced as party leader by Percival Noel James Patterson. Patterson led the PNP to victory in 1993, 1997, and 2002, becoming the first political leader in Jamaican history to win three successive general elections. In the 2002 election, held on 16 October 2002, the party won 52.2% of the popular vote and 34 out of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives.
Since its return to office in 1989, it has pursued policies intended to take advantage of globalisation. It has substantially moderated or abandoned the socialist rhetoric of the 1970s. On 26 February 2006, Portia Simpson-Miller was elected as Patterson's successor, becoming the first female president of the PNP and became the Prime Minister of Jamaica. The PNP lost the August 2007 election to the JLP, and their leader Bruce Golding.
In the 29 December 2011 general election, the PNP was returned to power with 42 of the 63 seats in Jamaica's parliament. At first, 41 seats had been counted in favour of the PNP. A recount with official results cost the former agriculture minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, his seat, putting the PNP at 42 and the JLP at 21.
 On January 5, 2012, PNP president, the Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister for the second time in her political career. On the following day, she assigned 20 cabinet ministers to various ministries, as well as 8 state ministers.
List of party presidents
- Norman Manley (1938–1969)
- Michael Manley (1969–1992)
- P. J. Patterson (1992–2006)
- Portia Simpson-Miller (2006–present)
- Official PNP website
- Jamaica New 2012 Cabinet Ministers
- Party manifesto (PDF file; free download of reader available here)
- History of the PNP and the JLP