The tenth General Parliamentary Elections were held in Jamaica on 15 December 1983 for all 60 seats in the House of Representatives.
The 60 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.
On 25 November 1983, Prime Minister Edward Seaga (Jamaica Labour Party - JLP) called for general elections to be held three weeks later, two years before schedule. The grounds were that former Prime Minister Michael Manley, leader of the opposition People's National Party (PNP) had asked for Mr. Seaga to resign his portfolio as Finance Minister and the latter sought a vote of confidence for his auste
Political Parties & Candidates
On Nomination Day (29 November), 54 House of Representatives seats went to JLP candidates since they were unopposed. The PNP boycotted the elections, accusing the Government of breaking an agreement not to call a poll until compilation of a new electoral register.
Three minor parties and several independents contested the elections. Two of the parties, the Christian Conscience Movement and the Jamaica United Front, had never previously contested an election. The other, the Republican Party, had run in the 1955 and 1967 elections, but had never received more than 108 votes. Between them, opposition and independent candidates only contested six constituencies, resulting in Labour Party candidates winning 54 seats unopposed.
Economic issues dominated the campaign.
On election day, the conservative JLP, opposed by minor parties and independents in only six constituencies (in which there was an estimated 30% turnout), won all 60 House seats and formed a one-party legislature.
On 19 December, a new Cabinet headed by Seaga was sworn in.
Whilst turnout in the contested seats was estimated to be around 30%, the overall total was just 2.7%, by far the lowest in the country's history.