Bahamian general election, 2007

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Bahamian general election, 2007
The Bahamas
← 2002 2 May 2007 (2007-05-02) 2012 →

All 41 seats of the Bahamian House of Assembly
21 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Hubert Ingraham.jpg Perry Christie 2013 (cropped).jpg
Leader Hubert Ingraham Perry Christie
Party FNM PLP
Leader's seat North Abaco Farm Road & Centreville
Last election 7 seats, 17.50% 29 seats, 72.50%
Seats before 7 29
Seats after 23 18
Seat change Increase 16 Decrease 11
Popular vote 64,637
Percentage 49.86% 47.02%
Swing Increase 8.99% Decrease 4.76%

Prime Minister before election

Perry Christie
PLP

Prime Minister

Hubert Ingraham
FNM

Coat of arms of the Bahamas.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Bahamas
Foreign relations

General elections were held in the Bahamas on 2 May 2007.

The result was an opposition victory, with the Free National Movement, led by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, claiming 23 of the 41 seats. Incumbent Prime Minister Perry Christie conceded defeat in a phone call to his rival.[1] Ingraham was sworn into the office of Prime Minister on 4 May.[2]

Background[edit]

The Bahamas is dominated by two parties: the left of center Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), and the right of center Free National Movement (FNM). The Free National Movement party came to power in the 1992 election, under the leadership of Hubert Ingraham. After winning the 1997 election and having now served 10 years as prime minister, Ingraham announced that he would step down from the FNM before the start of the 2002 election. Tommy Turnquest then took over the party leadership of the FNM, and many voters, including FNM supporters, felt that Turnquest was much “weaker” than the leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, Perry Christie.

The 2002 election saw a PLP victory with Perry Christie becoming prime minister. After their victory, the PLP focussed and worked on improving and attracting foreign investments for the islands as well as further growing the all important tourism sector within the Bahamas. Many were confident that a PLP victory in 2007 was possible as the GDP had grown 4% since they took control of the government in 2002.[3]

During the FNM party's November 2005 convention, Hubert Ingraham was elected leader of the party after he had expressed that he would like to return to the party ahead of the 2007 election.[4] Back under the strong leadership of Ingraham, the FNM party became energized when scandal emerged within the PLP. American celebrity Anna-Nicole Smith was photographed in an embrace with Immigration Minister, Shane Gibson of the PLP. Before photos emerged of the two together, many Bahamians were alarmed when Smith filed for legal residency in the Bahamas in August 2006 and was granted residency just a month later, even though the process sometimes takes years. Allegations also emerged that Gibson had received money and gifts from Smith as well. Shane Gibson finally resigned in February 2007 after the photos of him and Smith were published in a local newspaper.[5][3]

Reuters in March 2007 reported: “Opposition leaders charged that the government's handling of Smith's case shows its incompetence, and two political commentators said the race had tightened. ‘The Anna Nicole debacle and all the publicity regarding that ... has energized the base of the (Free National Movement) and hurt the PLP. They are losing ground and something needs to happen to swing the momentum back,’ said an attorney close to the opposition. [...] D'Andre Wright, 18, a first-time voter, said the Smith story was simply a distraction. ‘That is fine and dandy but we need to focus on what the FNM can do better than the government,’ she said.”[3]

Opinion polls[edit]

Many Bahamian voters wanted a more transparent government from the 2007 election,[6] because the economy in 2007 was “anaemic,”[7] they viewed the previous administration as unproductive, and there was a rising crime rate. Ingraham was voted over Christie because people wanted change. Although they wanted a lot out of this election, it was not promising as people felt that politics were dominated by an “exclusive clique”[8] due to the candidates Christie and Ingraham being good friends and business partners. The rumors of election fraud also did not appeal to voters and lowered their opinions on both the election as a whole and the candidates, as they did not respond well to the scandals.

Many people believed that the PLP did have a clear plan, and that they did a poor job with public relations.[9] Some thought that House of Assembly did not listen to their constituents, and that the PLP did not focus enough on the common man. They were indecisive and “reluctant to act on critical issues.”[10] Many people did not like that their land policy favored white foreigners. However, others believed the PLP was attempting to establish a “true and sustained democracy,” a characteristic that the party had prided itself on since the beginning. Although mainly faults of the PLP have been listed and many people were not surprised nor disappointed by their loss, many also thought the election was a complete toss up with no clear predicted winner.

In general, Bahamian voters favored Ingraham over Christie. Females did not favor him as much as males, however, as he won the female vote by a smaller margin than the male.[11]

Results[edit]

e • d Summary of the 2 May 2007 House of Assembly of the Bahamas election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Free National Movement 68,542 49.86 23
Progressive Liberal Party 64,637 47.02 18
Bahamas Democratic Movement 741 0.54 0
Independents 3,555 2.59 0
Total 137,475 41
Source: BBC News
Electoral District Total Votes FNM PLP Other Incumbent
Bain and Grant's Town 3413 David Jordine 1033 Dr Bernard Nottage 1807 + Duane Gibson 9 Reverend C.B. Moss 564 Bradley Roberts
Bamboo Town 3616 Branville McCartney 1957 + - Tennyson Wells 1554 Omar Smith 86 Prince Albert Strachan 19 Tennyson Wells (Independent)
Blue Hills 4309 Sidney Collie 2178 + Leslie Miller 2131 - Leslie Miller
Carmichael 3774 Desmond Bannister 2094 + John Carey 1650 Tolonus Sands 30 John Carey
Clifton 2984 Kendal Wright 1660 + Jackson Ritchie 1324 - -
Elizabeth 3907 Elma Campbell 1895 Malcolm Adderley 1940 + Bernard Roll 72 Malcolm Adderley
Englerston 3663 Raymond Rolle 1407 Glenys Hanna-Martin 2191 + Cortez Turner 32 Paul Rolle 33 Glennys Hanna-Martin
Farm Road and Centreville 3720 Ella Lewis 1383 Perry Christie 2316 + Troy Rahming 15 Kenneth Taylor 6 -
Fort Charlotte 3436 - Alfred Sears 1794 + Michael Barnett 1612 Charles Carroll 30 Alfred Sears
Fox Hill 3940 - Fred Mitchell 1988 + Jacinta Higgs 1925 Kermit Agaro 27 Fred Mitchell
Garden Hills 3597 Brensil Rolle 1831 + Veronica Owens 1640 Cassius Stuart (BDM Leader) 126 Veronica Owens
Golden Gates 3770 Donald Saunders 1539 Shane Gibson 2193 + Clever Duncombe 38 Shane Gibson
Golden Isles 3636 Charles Maynard 1824 + Michael Halkitis 1762 Christopher Cox 50 -
Kennedy 3545 Michael Turnquest 1616 Kenyatta Gibson 1880 + Omar Archer 49 Kenyatta Gibson
Killarney 3839 Dr. Hubert Minnis 2065 + Neville Wisdom 1774 - -
Marathon 3602 Earl Deveaux 1836 + Ron Pinder 1728 Winsome Miller 38 Ron Pinder
Montagu 3614 Loretta Butler Turner 2512 + Yvette Turnquest 1102 - Brent Symonette
Mount Moriah 3815 Orville "Tommy" Turnquest 2142 + Keod Smith 1636 Wilbur Lewis 37 Keod Smith
Pinewood 3863 Byran Woodside 1945 + Allison Maynard-Gibson 1881 Demetrius Frazer 22 Marvin Williams 15 Allyson Gibson
St. Anne's 3599 Brent Symonette 2297 + Ricardo Treco 1302 - -
St. Cecilia 3465 Felton Cox 1336 Cynthia Pratt 2129 + - Cynthia Mother Pratt
St. Thomas More 3525 Reece Chipman 1536 Frank Smith 1949 + George Hepburn 21 Laurette Josey-Dean 19 Frank Smith
Sea Breeze 3832 Carl Bethel 1928 + Cynthia Hope Strachan 1864 Solomon Brown 40 -
South Beach 3611 Phenton Neymour 1919 + Wallace Rolle 1620 Jermaine Higgs 72 Agatha Marchelle
Yamacraw 3814 Pauline Nairn 1749 Melanie Griffin 2065 + - Melanie Griffin
Eight Mile Rock 3719 Verna Grant 2011 + Caleb Outten 1708 - Lindy Russell
Lucaya 4109 Neko Grant 2381 + Constance McDonald 1728 - Neko Grant
Marco City 4022 Zhivargo Laing 1998 + Pleasant Bridgewater 1951 Michael Edwards 73 Pleasant Bridgewater
Pineridge 3527 Kwasi Thompson 1869 + Ann Percentie-Russell 1649 Edwin Moss 9 Ann Percentie
West End and Bimini 3347 David Wallace 1527 Obadiah Wilchcombe 1820 + - Obie Wilchcombe
North Abaco 3524 Hubert Ingraham 1855 + Fritz Bootle 1387 Cay Mills 276 Kenneth Claridge 6 Hubert Ingraham
South Abaco* 2635 Edison Key 1552 + Gary Sawyer 1083 - Robert Sweeting
North Andros and Berry Islands 2368 Shandrice Woodside-Rolle 1097 Vincent Peet 1271 + - Vincent Peet
South Andros 2069 Marjorie Johnson 473 Picewell Forbes 1018 + Whitney Bastian 578 Whitney Bastian
Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador 1392 Gladys Johnson-Sands 583 Phillip "Brave" Davis 809 + - Phillip Davis
North Eleuthera 3169 Alvin Smith 1620 + Chrisfield Johnson 1549 - Alvin Smith
South Eleuthera 2575 Johnley Ferguson 1160 Oswald Ingraham 1415 + - Oswald Ingraham
Exuma 2623 Joshua Sears 1279 Anthony Moss 1344 + - Anthony Moss
Long Island and Ragged Island* 1621 Lawrence “Larry” Cartwright 1175 + - James Miller, 446 Larry Cartwright
MICAL 1233 Dion Foulkes 597 V. Alfred Gray 636 + - -
Total votes 137576 65010 votes or 47.25% 64637 votes or 46.98% 7929 votes 5.76% -

[12] [13]

  • * indicates White district, and + indicates district winner. All results reported from The Bahamas Weekly.

Aftermath[edit]

The controversial victory of Hubert Ingraham, member of the Free National Movement, incited strong reactions, particularly from the Progressive Liberal Party. The PLP announced it questioned the validity of (and may request a recount of) the electoral votes in districts where the results were closer.[14] Despite a delayed report on the results of the election and the skepticism coming from the PLP, Perry Christie called Hubert Ingraham to concede two and a half hours after the results were reported. However, after the concession of the PLP, rumors of the FNM’s victory being overturned.Prime Minister Ingraham countered claims of miscounts by accusing the PLP of corruption mentioning that there had not been this level of corruption in any recent general election. In response to the 49.86% of votes being cast for the FNM, Perry Christie, leader of the PLP said “Ingraham must now live with the reality that he is the first ever prime minister of a government elected with a minority of the popular vote.[15]

On May 7, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham appointed the following Cabinet Ministers:

  • Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
  • Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Tommy Turnquest, Minister of National Security.
  • Claire Hepburn, appointed to the Senate and made Attorney General.
  • Carl Bethel, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.
  • Kenneth Russell, Minister of Housing and National Insurance.
  • Earl Deveaux, Minister of Works and Transport.
  • Neko Grant, Minister of Tourism and Aviation.
  • Dion Foulkes, appointed to the Senate and made Minister of Maritime Affairs and Labour.
  • Lawrence (Larry) Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources.
  • Sidney Collie, Minister of Lands and Local Government.
  • Dr. Hubert Minnis, Minister of Health and Social Development.
  • Zhivargo Laing, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.
  • Desmond Bannister, Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
  • Elma Campbell, appointed to the Senate and made Minister of State for Immigration in the Ministry of National Security.
  • Loretta Butler-Turner, Minister of State for Social Services.
  • Byron Woodside, Minister of State for Youth & Sports.
  • Charles Maynard, Minister of State for Youth & Culture.
  • Branville McCartney, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation.
  • Phenton Neymour, Minister State for Public Utilities.[16]

Controversy surrounded the appointment of Brent Symonette as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, as Perry Christie critiqued him for being a white and wealthy Bahamian. Ingraham responded to this critique by saying:

“If we are to become all that we might be we must aspire to transcend historic prejudices and break loose from the stereotypical bounds of the politics of race and class division that belongs to a bygone era. That is behind us and we must leave it so that we can achieve full unity in our land with a government dedicated to serving all Bahamians, black and white, middle class, rich and poor; young and old able and disabled.”

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bahamas government ousted in poll, BBC News, 3 May 2007.
  2. ^ Swearing in the Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham Bahamas Government, 4 May 2007
  3. ^ a b c "Amid Anna Nicole furor, Bahamas gears for election". Reuters. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  4. ^ "The Rt. Honorable Hubert Ingraham". bahconga.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  5. ^ "WikiLeaks: Anna Nicole Smith took the Bahamas by storm". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  6. ^ "FNM and PLP in statistical dead heat". Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  7. ^ Administrator. "Hope and the ballot". Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  8. ^ Puddington, Arch; Piano, Aili; Neubauer, Katrina; Roylance, Tyler (2009-09-30). Freedom in the World 2009: The Annual Survey of Political Rights & Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-0122-4. 
  9. ^ "My Analysis of the Bahamas General Election – Bahama Pundit". www.bahamapundit.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  10. ^ "Why the PLP Lost the Bahamas Election – Bahama Pundit". www.bahamapundit.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  11. ^ "Workers Party Election Poll – WeblogBahamas.com". www.weblogbahamas.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  12. ^ Bahamian general election, 2002, 2002 Bahamas Election
  13. ^ [1], The Bahamas Weekly 2007 General Election Results
  14. ^ "Bahama Pundit". Bahama Pundit. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  15. ^ "A flashback to 2007 – what have we learned?". Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  16. ^ "Bahamas Cabinet Ministers – WeblogBahamas.com". www.weblogbahamas.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08.