The seventh General Parliamentary Elections were held in Jamaica on 29 February 1972 for all 53 seats in the House of Representatives.
The 53 members of the House of Representatives are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. There is no fixed election date in effect in Jamaica at this time; hence, the choice of election date is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
The Representation of the People Act permits the candidacy of voters above the age of 21. Any Commonwealth citizen residing in Jamaica can vote in the election if they are older than 18 years. To be included on the ballot, a nomination must include the signatures of at least ten eligible voters from the same constituency. The nomination form must then be submitted during a four-hour period on nomination day.
Prime Minister Hugh Shearer called the general election for 29 February 1972 during a public meeting in downtown Kingston. The 1972 elections were essentially a contest between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), winner of the 1962 and 1967 elections, and the People's National Party (PNP).
Political Parties & Candidates
A total of 113 candidates contested the election. The People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) each presented full slates of 45 candidates. There were also one candidate from the minor Christian democratic Party (CDP) and six independent candidates.
The JLP, principally supported in rural areas, conducted its campaign on the basis of its record of 10 years in office, during which Jamaica's gross national product, spurred by booms in the country's two principal industries — bauxite and tourism — nearly doubled. The PNP, with a platform slightly further to the left, attacked the high unemployment (20 %-25 %) and rising crime rate; it moreover called for a " restructuring " of the economy, notably, greater local participation in the foreign aluminum companies exploiting Jamaica's chief resource, bauxite.
The campaign was calmer than in 1967, but still marked by disturbances during the counts on election night.
The PNP, by taking 37 of the 53 seats in the House of Representatives, won 18 seats previously held by the JLP. Michael Manley from Kingston, leader of the PNP, was sworn in as Jamaica's new Prime Minister on 2 March 1972.
One of the elected members defected from the JLP after the elections and became independent.
Voter turnout was 78.88%