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United Democratic Party (UDP)

The United Democratic Party (UDP) is one of the two major political parties in Belize, and currently the ruling party. A centre-right conservative party, it is currently led by Dean Barrow.

In 1974 political opposition in Belize was weak and the ruling People's United Party (PUP) had never lost a legislative election since its foundation. The main opposition parties, the National Independence Party and the People's Development Movement met together with a new Liberal Party to consider forming an alliance to fight the PUP. The result was that the three merged to form the United Democratic Party on 27 September 1973.

The UDP's first electoral test was the 1974 general election in which it fielded candidates nationwide except in Corozal District, where it supported candidates from the Corozal United Front. It won six seats, and was within 18 votes of winning three more. Former People's Development Movement head Dean Lindo was subsequently named party leader. The party had success in municipal elections during the 1970s, but failed to defeat the PUP in the 1979 general elections. Its representation in the House of Representatives dropped to five seats and party leader Lindo lost his seat to Said Musa and was replaced as leader by Theodore Aranda. Despite internal divisions, the party retained control of three towns in the December 1981 municipal elections

In late 1982 Aranda was removed as party leader and replaced by Curl Thompson, who in turn was replaced by former Liberal Party leader Manuel Esquivel following a convention. In December 1983 the UDP won Belize City Council elections and the following year they were victorious in the general elections, winning 21 of the 28 seats.  However, they lost power in the 1989 elections, winning 13 seats to the PUP's 15.

For the 1993 elections the party formed an alliance with the National Alliance for Belizean Rights. The alliance won 16 of the 29 seats, with the UDP taking fifteen.  However, they were soundly defeated in the 1998 elections as the PUP won 26 of the 29 seats, after which Esquivel was replaced by Barrow as party leader. The PUP remained in power following the 2003 elections, in which the UDP only won seven seats. After ten years in opposition, the UDP won the 2008 general elections, taking 25 of the 31 seats.

 

QUICK FACTS
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Leader Dean BARROW
Founded 27 September 1973
Party Colour Red
Ideology Conservatism
Political Position Centre-right
House of Representatives seats - 2015 19/31
   
Youth Arm Youth Popular Front
Newspaper The Guardian
Party Flag
Status Active
RELATED RESOURCES
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Political Parties of Belize
Belize Elections
POLITICAL LEADERS
Political Leader Entered Office Left Office
Dean LINDO 1974 1979
Theodore ARANDA 1979 1982
Curl THOMPSON 1982 1983
Manuel ESQUIVEL 1983 1998
Dean BARROW 1998 incumbent
PARTY RESOURCES
Download Manifesto
UDP 2015 Manifesto [EN]
Download Manifesto
UDP 2012 Manifesto [EN]
Download Manifesto
UDP 2008 Manifesto [EN]
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