People's National Party

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People's National Party
Leader Portia Simpson-Miller
President Portia Simpson-Miller
Chairperson Robert Pickersgill
Spokesperson Delano Franklin
House Speaker Micheal Peart
Founded 1938
Headquarters Kingston, Jamaica
Youth wing People's National Party Youth Organization
Ideology Social democracy
Democratic socialism
Third Way
Internal factions:
 • Republicanism
Political position Centre-left[1][2]
International affiliation Socialist International (observer)[3]
House of Representatives
42 / 63
13 / 20
Local Government
151 / 227
Parish Councils
13 / 13
Politics of Jamaica
Political parties

The People's National Party (PNP) is a social-democratic[4][5][6] political party in Jamaica 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,[7] as well as a majority of local government bodies with 151 of the 228 divisions. The party is democratic socialist by constitution,[8] 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.

Political history[edit]

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.[9] 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.

2011 Elections[edit]

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.

[10] 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.

Electoral performance[edit]

Election Leader Votes Share of votes Seats Result
1944 Norman Manley 82,029 23.5%
5 / 32
1949 Norman Manley 203,048 43.5%
13 / 32
1955 Norman Manley 245,750 50.5%
18 / 32
1959 Norman Manley 305,642 54.8%
29 / 45
1962 Norman Manley 279,771 43.5%
19 / 45
1967 Norman Manley 217,207 49.1%
20 / 53
1972 Michael Manley 266,927 56.4%
37 / 53
1976 Michael Manley 417,768 56.8%
47 / 60
1980 Michael Manley 350,064 41.1%
9 / 60
1983 Michael Manley Did not contest
1989 Michael Manley 473,754 56.6%
45 / 60
1993 P.J. Patterson 401,131 60.0%
52 / 60
1997 P.J. Patterson 429,805 56.2%
50 / 60
2002 P.J. Patterson 396,590 52.1%
34 / 60
2007 Portia Simpson Miller 405,293 49.6%
28 / 60
2011 Portia Simpson Miller 463,232 53.3%
42 / 63

List of party presidents[edit]


  1. ^ Jean Grugel (1 January 1995). Politics and Development in the Caribbean Basin: Central America and the Caribbean in the New World Order. Indiana University Press. pp. 117–. ISBN 0-253-20954-4. 
  2. ^ Europa Publications, (2 September 2003). Political Chronology of the Americas. Routledge. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-1-135-35653-8. 
  3. ^ Member Parties of the Socialist International
  4. ^ Freedom House (1 November 2011). Freedom in the World 2011: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 342–. ISBN 978-1-4422-0994-7. 
  5. ^ M. Keith Booker (2005). Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: A-G. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-313-32939-5. 
  6. ^ John Girling (26 November 2010). America and the Third World: Revolution and Intervention. Routledge. pp. 196–. ISBN 978-1-136-85882-6. 
  7. ^ Parliament of Jamaica
  8. ^ "Constitution of the People's National Party". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "BBC News: Jamaica confirms opposition win". 7 September 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  10. ^ New 2012 Cabinet Ministers

External links[edit]