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Jamaica General Election Results - 29 December 2011
Parliament Chamber, Jamaica

The sixteenth General Parliamentary Elections were held in Jamaica on 2 December 2011 for all 63 seats in the House of Representatives. The number of seats increased from 60 prior to the election.

Electoral System

The 63 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.

Background

On 4 December 2011, Prime Minister Andrew Holness called parliamentary elections for 29 December, nine months earlier than they were constitutionally due. At stake were 63 seats in the House of Representatives, up from 60. 

Since the last election in 2007, the number of seats was increased from 60 (an even number) to 63 (an odd number). The close results of the 2007 general election spurred the change as the Electoral Commission concluded that a tie would not be resolved.

In May 2010, the PNP accused the JLP Government of lobbying against the extradition of a notorious drug dealer/gang leader, Christopher "Duddus" Coke, who had been accused of gun and drug trafficking offences by the US law enforcement authorities. The Prime Minister admitted his involvement in the lobbying efforts and subsequently ordered an operation to arrest the gang leader, in which nearly 80 persons were killed. The Prime Minister survived a no-confidence vote tabled by the PNP and the JLP renewed its support for the Prime Minister. 

In July 2011, Speaker Delroy Chuck was appointed Justice Minister. Deputy Speaker Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert succeeded him, becoming the second woman in the country to assume the post. 

The global economic crisis that started in 2008 continued to affect the country's economy. By 2011, Jamaica's debt had reached nearly US$ 19 billion, or 120 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and the unemployment rate had risen to 12.9 per cent. In a bid to restructure the economy, the JLP Government sold several loss-making State companies. 

In September 2011, Prime Minister Golding announced that he would resign as Prime Minister as soon as a new JLP leader was elected, stating that it was the time to make way for new leadership to pursue the economic recovery and transformation programmes he had initiated. The following month, the 39 year-old Education Minister, Mr. Andrew Holness (JLP), was elected JLP leader and became the youngest Prime Minister in Jamaica's history. 

Later the same month, the Constituency (Boundaries) Order 2011 was gazetted. It created three more single-member constituencies, bringing the total number of members in the House of Representatives to 63. On 8 December, the House of Representatives was dissolved for early elections. 

Political Parties & Candidates

A total of 150 candidates representing five political parties and six independents were vying for seats in 2011.  the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP) each nominated candidates in all 63 constituencies. The Marcus Garvey People’s Progressive Party (MGPPP) had 10, the National Democratic Movement (NDM), seven, Independents numbered six and the Jamaica Alliance Movement (JAM) had one.

The elections once again saw a duel between the JLP and the PNP, led by former Prime Minister Simpson-Miller. 

Campaign

Prime Minister Holness' JLP ran on the government's record, citing single-digit inflation and stable exchange rates. It pledged to lead Jamaica to developed-country status by 2030. Prime Minister Holness urged voters to give the JLP a new mandate so as to make Jamaica the best place to live, work, do business and raise families in. 

Ms. Simpson-Miller - who had been the country's first woman Prime Minister in 2006 - accused the JLP of mishandling the economy. She pledged to renegotiate Jamaica's agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) so as to extend its loan repayment period in order to allow the economy to grow. The party also promised an emergency employment programme and to open up the electricity market to competition with a view to lowering prices. 

Results

The final results gave 42 seats to the PNP, double the share won by the JLP. The latter became the first government in Jamaica to be voted out after a single term in office. 

On 5 January 2012, Ms. Simpson-Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister for the second time. Upon assuming the post, she announced that her administration would make Jamaica a republic with a President. She stated that it was high time to abandon the British model of government, Jamaica having gained independence from Britain 50 years earlier. 

On 17 January, the newly-elected members of the House of Representatives were sworn in alongside the newly-appointed senators. The House elected Michael Peart as its new Speaker while the Senate elected Mr. Stanley Redwood as its President.

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 53.26%.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 63 single-member constituencies
VOTER TURNOUT
Total Valid Votes 870,952
Invalid Votes 6,872
Total Votes Cast 877,824
Registered Voters 1,648,036
Voter Turnout 53.26%
   
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of House Thu, 8 Dec 2011
Nomination Day Mon, 12 Dec 2011
Polling Day Thu, 29 Dec 2011
First Meeting of Parliament Tue, 17 Jan 2012
POLITICAL LEADERS
  Photo Andrew HOLNESS
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)
  Photo Portia SIMPSON-MILLER
People's National Party (PNP)
RELATED RESOURCES
Representation of the People Act (2011) Download report
Jamaica Constitution Act Download report
ELECTION REPORTS
OAS Electoral Observation Mission Final Report Download report
PARTY MANIFESTOS View all Members of Parliament of Barbados
Download
JLP 2011 Manifesto
Download
PNP 2011 Manifesto
Download
JAM 2011 Manifesto
Download
MGPPP 2011 Manifesto
Download
NDM 2011 Manifesto
 
ELECTORAL MAP
Expand Map
SUMMARY RESULTS
  Party Code Votes Seats
Total % votes Change Candidates Number Change
  Jamaica Labour Party JLP 405,920 46.32% -3.66% 63 21 -11
  People's National Party Winner PNP 464,064 52.96% +3.64% 63 42 +14
  Marcus Garvey People's Progressive Party MGPPP 420 0.05% +0.05% 10 0 -
  National Democratic Movement NDM 263 0.03% -0.01% 7 0 -
  Jamaica Alliance Movement JAM 57 0.01% +0.01% 1 0 -
  Independent Candidates IND 228 0.03% 0.00% 6 0 -
  Total   870,952 100% - 150 63 +3
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Key
JLP = Jamaica Labour Party; PNP = People's National Party; IND = Inpendent candidate; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
Electoral Commission of Jamaica
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