United Democratic Party (Belize)
|United Democratic Party|
|Founded||27 September 1973|
|Headquarters||Youth for the Future Drive, Belize City, Belize|
|Youth wing||Youth Popular Front|
|Regional affiliation||Caribbean Democrat Union|
|Seats in the House|
The United Democratic Party (UDP) is one of the two major political parties in Belize, and currently the ruling party, having won the 2008 general elections. A centre-right conservative party, it is currently led by Dean Barrow.
In 1974 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 result was that the three merged to form the United Democratic Party on 27 September 1973.
The party's first electoral test was the 1974 general elections. It won four seats, and was within eighteen 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. Although it increased its representation in the House of Representatives to five seats, 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. In December 1983 the UDP won Belize City Council elections in December 1983, 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, 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.
Past leaders 
- Dean Lindo (1974–1979)
- Theodore Aranda (1979–1982)
- Curl Thompson (1982–1983)
- Manuel Esquivel (1983–1998)
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