2020 Belizean general election
All 31 seats in the House of Representatives
16 seats needed for a majority
The People's United Party achieved its first national election victory since 2003, winning 26 seats, while the incumbent United Democratic Party had its worst result since 1998, winning the remaining 5 seats. Despite the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a recent tropical storm, election turnout was over 81%, the highest since 1998.
Several high-profile MP's also chose not to contest the elections. The previous prime minister, Dean Barrow (UDP), was constitutionally required to step down after serving three terms in office; having been an MP since 1984, he also decided to retire from the House. His predecessor as prime minister, Said Musa (PUP), also chose to retire; Musa was the last remaining MP to have served before independence in 1981.
The previous general elections were held on 4 November 2015, and the new National Assembly was opened on 13 November 2015. According to Section 84 of the Constitution of Belize, the National Assembly must be dissolved "five years from the date when the two Houses of the former National Assembly first met" unless dissolved sooner by the Governor-General of Belize upon the advice of the prime minister. A general election must be called within three months of a dissolution, which meant the latest possible date for the next Belizean general election would be 13 February 2021.
Despite the five-year term, three of the last four general elections had been called at least a year early. Both Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the opposition People's United Party were on record supporting the reduction of the maximum term of the National Assembly to four years.
Barrow initially stated his intention to retire as Prime Minister no later than the end of 2019, but changed his mind to stay on until 2020 at the urging of his Cabinet. However, he said that he would still retire as the United Democratic Party Leader at the party's national convention and leadership election, which was first tentatively scheduled for 9 February 2020. He strongly hinted at a snap election in early 2020. But in May 2019, Barrow dismissed that remark and said that elections would be held in November 2020.
On 5 October 2020, Barrow called the elections for 11 November, with Nominations Day on 21 October. The Writ of Election was formally filed by the Governor-General immediately afterwards. He advised the Governor-General to dissolve the National Assembly on 6 October.
The Belize Peace Movement (BPM), a civil society organisation, filed a court petition in December 2019 for a redistricting process to be held before the next elections. In the BPM's view, the district map in use did not reflect the distribution of the population, leading to unequal representation. As no action had been taken by the court before the election announcement on 6 October, the BPM filed for a Supreme Court injunction on 13 October to delay the election until this process could be completed. The PUP joined the case on the side of the government, arguing that they would lose their campaign money if the election were to be delayed. On 28 October, acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana ruled in favour of the Government: as the election process had already begun and the National Assembly had already been dissolved, the court did not have jurisdiction to intervene.
During election week, Tropical Storm Eta led to flooding in parts of the country. While Barrow acknowledged that postponing the election would be possible (with the approval of the participating parties), he decided to stay with 11 November as there was no explicit provision for postponement in the Constitution.
For the first time since 1998, a Prime Ministerial debate was held, organized jointly by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Galen University and LOVE FM. It was scheduled for 28 October, and the rules and format were taken from the Jamaica Debates Commission. The questions were submitted by a variety of local NGO's, business associations, and unions. As of 23 October, three of the four invited party leaders had announced their participation in the debate. The remaining invitee, Johnny Briceño of the PUP, wanted to meet privately with the organizers before deciding to participate. The organizers had already released the debate rules publicly; since one of the rules prohibited private communication between the organizers and the participants, the organizers did not reply to the PUP. Patrick Faber of the UDP then decided not to participate either. In the end, the debate was held between Belize Progressive Party leader Patrick Rogers and Belize People's Front leader Nancy Marin. The debate was livestreamed on each of the organizer's Facebook pages, attracting 33,500 viewers overall.
At the constituency level, the Dangriga-based NGO "Citizens for Good Governance" (CGG) organized a debate on 3 November between the two challenger candidates, Louis Zabaneh (PUP) and John Suazo (BPF). The incumbent, Frank Mena (UDP), declined to participate. This debate was broadcast live on Dangriga Cable Vision (Channel 58). It was also livestreamed from the Facebook pages of the CGG, Southern Belize Media, and Tropical Vision Limited.
|Slogan and Manifesto||Campaign Song|
|United Democratic Party (UDP)||Centre-right||Conservatism||Patrick Faber
|"Because YOUR Future Matters"||"Your Future Matters!"
"Staying with the UDP" 
|People's United Party (PUP)||Centre to centre-left||Christian democracy
|"#PlanBelize"||"Vote BLU, Everybody fi win" (Todos Ganamos)"|
|Belize Progressive Party (BPP)||Centre-left to left-wing||Social democracy
|"Changing the system in Belize"||"For Progress! BPP for Belize!" |
|Belize People's Front (BPF)||Centre to centre-left||Progressivism||Nancy Marin
|"Breaking Corruption. Building a Nation."||"Time fi mek di change" "BELIZE" |
The ruling United Democratic Party, in power since 2008, attempted to win a fourth consecutive general election. However, as the Constitution of Belize limits the Prime Minister to three terms in office, the UDP needed to contest with a new leader. To this end, the incumbent UDP leader and Prime Minister Dean Barrow had stated his intention to step down from both posts in the months leading up to the election. The UDP tentatively scheduled a May 2019 convention to name Barrow's successor as party leader, but in January 2019 the date was pushed back to February 2020. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber and Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar contested the position. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred Elrington had also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but did not stand in the convention.
On 9 February 2020, Saldivar was elected UDP leader over Faber, but three days later was forced to resign after allegations surfaced he accepted US$50,000 from accused fraudster Lev Dermen, who was on trial in Salt Lake City. Saldivar was also stripped of his Cabinet post.
On 12 July 2020, a second leadership convention was held with Faber, Saldivar, and Elrington as candidates. This time, Faber won with a margin of 19 votes over Saldivar (286 to 267). Elrington received 10 votes. Faber was formally inaugurated as party leader on 9 October, with Barrow continuing to serve as Prime Minister until the elections.
Despite gains in Belize City in 2015, most notably Kareem Musa's upset win over Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley in the Caribbean Shores constituency, the opposition PUP remained at 11 seats overall thanks to losses in the Cayo and Corozal Districts. For its leader, the PUP chose Johnny Briceño, who had served as Deputy Prime Minister in the previous PUP administration. Francis Fonseca, who led the party during the past two general elections, resigned from leadership soon after the party's 2015 loss. Although Briceño served a previous term as PUP leader from 2008 to 2011, he had yet to lead the party during a general election. Briceño, who represented a constituency in Orange Walk Town, was the first PUP member to lead the party in an election from outside Belize City. Belizean news sources pointed out that the PUP nominated only 2 female candidates out of 31 total, while the UDP had nominated 5.
The Belize People's Front, a progressive party, announced its intention to contest 17 seats, of which they ultimately filed for 13. The party was founded in 2013, but this was its first general election. BPF leader Nancy Marin was the first female political party leader in Belize.
The election was marked by several high-profile retirements. Fonseca had initially indicated that he would not stand in this election. However, he decided to stay for the last time. Former PUP leader Said Musa also stood down from his seat in this election. Musa, who contested the Belize City-based Fort George constituency in every election since 1974, was the sole remaining House member from before Belize's 1981 independence from Great Britain.
On the UDP side, former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega also announced that he would stand down. Other announced UDP retirements include Barrow – who had served in the Belize House continuously since 1984 – and Michael Finnegan, who had been in office since 1993. Moses Barrow, Dean Barrow's son and Finnegan's nephew, was nominated to succeed Finnegan as the UDP standard bearer in the Mesopotamia constituency. Veteran UDP Area Representative Wilfred Elrington also did not seek re-election.
Candidates by district
|Corozal||Corozal Bay||Pablo Marin||David "Dido" Vega||Carlos Javier Sawers||Pablo Marin|
|Corozal||Corozal North||Hugo Patt||David Castillo||Alfonso Acosta||Hugo Amilcar Patt|
|Corozal||Corozal South East||Antonio "Tony" Herrera||Florencio Julian Marin Jr.||Edna Doris Diaz||Eloim Ellis||Florencio Julian Marin|
|Corozal||Corozal South West||Dr. Angel Campos||Ramiro Ramirez||Laurencio Lucio Bul||Angel Campos|
|Orange Walk||Orange Walk Central||Denni Grijalva||Johnny Briceño||Antonia Cruz Sanchez||Johnny Briceño|
|Orange Walk||Orange Walk North||Carlos Zetina||Ramon "Monchi" Cervantes||Marino Assi||Gaspar Vega|
|Orange Walk||Orange Walk East||Elodio "Son Of The East" Aragon Jr.||Kevin Bernard||Lorenzo Adrian "Andy" Aldana||Elodio Aragon Jr.|
|Orange Walk||Orange Walk South||Guadalupe "Lupe" Dyck Magaña||Jose Abelardo Mai||Eber Misael Herrador||Jose Abelardo Mai|
|Cayo||Cayo North||Omar Figueroa||Michel "Micho" Chebat||Kurt Mathew Lizarraga||Omar Figueroa|
|Cayo||Cayo Central||Rene Montero||Alex Balona||Rene Montero|
|Cayo||Cayo West||Erwin Rafael Contreras||Jorge "Milon" Espat||Eduardo Raul Ayala||Erwin Contreras|
|Cayo||Cayo South||Ramon Francisco Witz||Julius Espat||Julius Espat|
|Cayo||Cayo North East||John Francis August Jr.||Orlando "Landy" Habet||Nefretery "Nancy" Marin||Orlando Habet|
|Cayo||Belmopan||John Birchman Saldivar||Oscar Mira||Anna "ABG" Banner-Guy||John Saldivar|
|Stann Creek||Dangriga||Frank "Papa" Mena||"Dr. Zab" Louis Zabaneh||John Francis Suazo||Frank Mena|
|Stann Creek||Stann Creek West||Ivan Hilbert Williams||Rodwell Stephen Ferguson||Hubert Alexander McCaulay||Mateo Tomas Polanco
|Toledo||Toledo East||Dennis Garbutt||Michael Espat||Orlando Albert Muschamp||Mike Espat|
|Toledo||Toledo West||Simeon Coc||Oscar Requena||Ruben Oscar Requena|
At the invitation of the Belizean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CARICOM sent a six-member observation team. The team's preliminary statement showed the elections to have been conducted in a smooth and timely manner; they especially commended the election commission's ability to implement COVID-19 sanitary measures while dealing with the effects of Tropical Storm Eta.
The polls closed at 6:15 pm. With the early counts already forecasting a lead for the PUP, Faber delivered a concession speech on television three hours later, congratulating Briceño and the PUP while calling for national unity. Election turnout was over 81%, the highest since 1998.
The results showed the PUP achieving its first national election victory since 2003, winning 26 seats. By contrast, the incumbent United Democratic Party had its lowest result since 1998, winning the remaining 5 seats. Four of the five UDP seats were in Belize City: Faber and Tracy Panton retained their seats, while Denise Barrow and Shyne Barrow won seats of retiring UDP members. The fifth seat was in Corozal, retained by incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Hugo Patt.
|People's United Party||88,040||59.60||26||+14|
|United Democratic Party||57,374||38.84||5||–14|
|Belize People's Front||820||0.56||0||New|
|Belize Progressive Party||548||0.37||0||0|
|Source: Elections & Boundaries Department, The Tribune|
|Albert||2,886||2,531||87.70||United Democratic Party||Tracy Ann Panton||1,271||50.82|
|People's United Party||Paul Adrian Thompson||1,230||49.18|
|Belize Rural Central||7,445||5,956||80.00||People's United Party||Dolores Balderamos-Garcia||3,409||58.67|
|United Democratic Party||Beverly Williams||2,166||37.28|
|Belize Progressive Party||Lion Bennett||181||3.12|
|Belize People's Front||Luz Maria Hunter||54||0.93|
|Belize Rural North||4,721||3,903||82.67||People's United Party||Marconi Prince Leal||2,238||58.01|
|United Democratic Party||Edmond “Clear The Land” Castro||1,568||40.64|
|Belize Progressive Party||Karen Sharon Banner||52||1.35|
|Belize Rural South||8,586||6,887||80.21||People's United Party||"Andre" Perez||4,336||63.84|
|United Democratic Party||Manuel Heredia||2,419||35.62|
|Belize People's Front||Thomas Henry Greenwood Jr.||37||0.54|
|Belmopan||8,758||6,943||79.28||People's United Party||Oscar Mira||4,172||60.82|
|United Democratic Party||John Birchman Saldivar||2,004||29.21|
|Independent||Anna "ABG" Banner-Guy||684||9.97|
|Caribbean Shores||4,363||3,726||85.40||People's United Party||Kareem David Musa||2,194||59.60|
|United Democratic Party||Lee Mark Chang||1,487||40.40|
|Cayo Central||8,107||6,219||76.71||People's United Party||Alex Balona||3,434||55.99|
|United Democratic Party||Rene Montero||2,699||44.01|
|Cayo North||8,058||6,679||82.89||People's United Party||Michel "Micho" Chebat||3,745||56.77|
|United Democratic Party||Omar Figueroa||2,790||42.29|
|Belize People's Front||Kurt Mathew Lizarraga||62||0.94|
|Cayo North East||5,706||4,764||83.49||People's United Party||Orlando "Landy" Habet||2,996||63.35|
|United Democratic Party||John Francis August Jr.||1,674||35.40|
|Belize People's Front||Nefretery "Nancy" Martin||59||1.25|
|Cayo South||7,069||5,261||74.42||People's United Party||Julius Espat||4,071||78.53|
|United Democratic Party||Ramon Francisco Witz||1,113||21.47|
|Cayo West||6,465||5,340||82.60||People's United Party||Jorge "Milon" Espat||2,703||51.50|
|United Democratic Party||Erwin Rafael Contreras||2,478||47.21|
|Belize People's Front||Eduardo Raul Ayala||68||1.29|
|Collet||3,732||3,037||81.38||United Democratic Party||Patrick Faber||1,834||61.63|
|People's United Party||Oscar "Polo" Arnold||1,142||38.37|
|Corozal Bay||5,410||4,475||82.72||People's United Party||David "Dido" Vega||2,402||54.37|
|United Democratic Party||Pablo Marin||1,994||45.13|
|Independent||Carlos Javier Sawers||22||0.50|
|Corozal North||7,000||6,155||87.93||United Democratic Party||Hugo Patt||3,479||56.96|
|People's United Party||David Castillo||2,563||41.96|
|Belize People's Front||Alfonso Acosta||66||1.08|
|Corozal South East||7,012||6,138||87.54||People's United Party||Florencio Julian Marin Jr.||3,413||55.97|
|United Democratic Party||Antonio "Tony" Herrera||2,614||42.87|
|Belize People's Front||Eloim Ellis||57||0.93|
|Belize Progressive Party||Edna Doris Diaz||14||0.23|
|Corozal South West||5,888||5,130||87.13||People's United Party||Ramiro Ramirez||2,898||56.91|
|United Democratic Party||Angel Campos||2,142||42.07|
|Belize People's Front||Laurencio Lucio Bul||52||1.02|
|Dangriga||5,482||4,212||76.83||People's United Party||"Dr. Zab" Louis Zabaneh||2,600||62.55|
|United Democratic Party||Frank "Papa" Mena||1,501||36.11|
|Belize People's Front||John Francis Suazo||56||1.34|
|Fort George||1,876||1,541||82.14||People's United Party||Henry Charles Usher Sr.||983||64.84|
|United Democratic Party||Melvin "Mello" Hewlett||499||32.92|
|Belize Progressive Party||William "Wil" Maheia||34||2.24|
|Freetown||3,782||3,114||82.34||People's United Party||Francis Fonseca||2,114||68.79|
|United Democratic Party||Orson Jerome "OJ" Elrington||959||31.21|
|Lake Independence||4,863||3,958||81.39||People's United Party||Cordel Hyde||3,539||90.79|
|United Democratic Party||Dianne "Miss D" Finnegan||359||9.21|
|Mesopotamia||2,277||1,715||75.32||United Democratic Party||Shyne Barrow||910||54.79|
|People's United Party||Candice Pitts||751||45.21|
|Orange Walk Central||6,045||5,157||85.31||People's United Party||Johnny Briceño||2,902||56.87|
|United Democratic Party||Denni Grijalva||2,140||41.94|
|Belize People's Front||Antonia Cruz Sanchez||61||1.19|
|Orange Walk East||7,033||6,038||85.85||People's United Party||Kevin Bernard||3,277||54.96|
|United Democratic Party||Elodio "Son Of The East" Aragon Jr.||2,612||43.80|
|Belize People's Front||Lorenzo Adrian "Andy" Aldana||74||1.24|
|Orange Walk North||7,833||6,785||86.62||People's United Party||Ramon "Monchi" Cervantes||4,043||60.09|
|United Democratic Party||Carlos Zetina||2,628||39.06|
|Belize People's Front||Marino Assi||57||0.85|
|Orange Walk South||6,858||5,782||84.31||People's United Party||Jose Abelardo Mai||3,499||61.34|
|United Democratic Party||Guadalupe "Lupe" Dyck Magaña||2,088||36.61|
|Belize People's Front||Eber Misael Herrador||117||2.05|
|Pickstock||3,997||3,281||82.09||People's United Party||Anthony Robert Mahler||2,570||80.21|
|United Democratic Party||Anthony "Uncle Boots" Martinez||574||17.92|
|Belize Progressive Party||Patrick Raymond Rogers||60||1.87|
|Port Loyola||4,717||3,649||77.36||People's United Party||Gilroy Usher Sr.||2,106||58.98|
|United Democratic Party||"Superman" Philip Willoughby||1,313||36.77|
|Belize Progressive Party||"Boo Boo" Evan Thompson||152||4.25|
|Queen's Square||2,714||2,431||89.57||United Democratic Party||Denise "Sista B" Barrow||1,351||56.43|
|People's United Party||Allan Pollard||1,020||42.61|
|Belize Progressive Party||Gary Matus||23||0.96|
|Stann Creek West||9,864||7,745||78.52||People's United Party||Rodwell Stephen Ferguson||4,900||64.23|
|United Democratic Party||Ivan Hilbert Williams||2,509||32.89|
|Belize Progressive Party||Hubert Alexander McCaulay||32||0.42|
|Independent||Mateo Tomas Polanco||9||0.11|
|Toledo East||6,831||4,698||68.77||People's United Party||Michael Espat||2,869||61.65|
|United Democratic Party||Dennis Garbutt||1,755||37.71|
|Independent||Orlando Albert Muschamp||30||0.54|
|Toledo West||7,437||6,400||86.06||People's United Party||Oscar Requena||3,921||61.60|
|United Democratic Party||Simeon Coc||2,444||38.40|
|Source: Elections & Boundaries Department|
- Guatemala: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated Briceño, as did President Alejandro Giammattei.
- Nicaragua: The President and Vice President sent a joint letter to congratulate "Brother Prime Minister" Briceño and the PUP, invoking the memory of George Cadle Price.
- Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated Briceño and thanked outgoing PM Barrow, acknowledging the "longstanding friendship" between Taiwan and Belize.
- United States: The US Embassy commended the Belizean people "for upholding the democratic heritage of the hemisphere."
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