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Montserrat General Election Results - 15 December 1970

The general election for the Legislative Council was held on Tuesday, 15 December 1970. 

Electoral System

The seven members of the Legislative Council were elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting.

Background

In November 1970, Percival Austin Bramble, leader of the opposition PĐP (and the son of former Chief Minister William Henry Bramble), was relieved of his post as Minister of Social Services after he had made a strong attack on the Chief Minister. Shortly afterwards, the Chief Minister advised the Administrator to dissolve the Legislative Council and new elections were scheduled for 15 December 1970.

PDP leader Percival Austin Bramble had previously been a member of the MLP and was elected to the Legislative Council as an MLP candidate in the 1966 elections. However, he subsequently broke away to form the PDP due to controversy over the number of holiday and retirement homes being built on the island.

Political Parties & Candidates

Sixteen candidates contested the elections; both the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Montserrat Labour Party (MLP) nominated candidates for all seven seats, with two independents also running

Election Campaign

The elections were the first occasion on which the MLP faced serious opposition.  The Chief Minister accused his son of '’publicly degrading the Government’s policies" and trying "to malign his Cabinet colleagues", while the former minister charged his father with "failing judgement and action on his own in a dictatorial manner".

The PDP urged the electorate to hand over the management of the Territory to a younger administration, while the MLP called for the retention of experienced leadership. In a ten-point manifesto, the PDP proposed, intercalia, the establishment of a new accounts committee, provision of free lunches to needy children in primary schools, a government information service and full employment for all Montserratians. The MLP manifesto called, inter alia, for continuity of the Government’s policies and improvement of services in the Territory. It also opposed any change in the status of the Territory. Both parties agreed on the need for continued efforts to encourage foreign investments.

Results

The election was dominated by the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) led by Percival Austin Bramble, winning all seven of the seats in the Legislative Council.  The Montserrat Labour Party (MLP), which had won every election since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1951, lost all four of its seats.

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 80.0% of the 5,030 registered voters.

Post-election

Percival Austin Bramble, son of former Chief Minister William Henry Bramble became the new Chief Minister. The government included the appointment of John Osborne as Minister of Agriculture.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 7 single-member constituencies
VOTER TURNOUT
Total Valid Votes 3,902
Invalid Votes 122
Total Votes Cast 4,024
Registered Voters 5,030
Voter Turnout 80.00%
   
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of Legislative Assembly -
Nomination Day -
Polling Day Tue, 15 Dec 1970
SUMMARY RESULTS
Party Code Votes % votes Candidates Seats
Montserrat Labour Party MLP 1,183 30.32% 7 0
Progressive Democratic Party PDP 2,515 64.45% 7 7
Independents IND 204 5.23% 2 0
Total 3,092 100% 16 7
ELECTED MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL View all Members of Parliament of Barbados
The unicameral Legislative Council includes 7 members popularly elected to serve five-year terms. The Council was constituted as follows:
Constituency Representative Party
Plymouth Percival Austin BRAMBLE Progressive Democratic Party
Eastern W.H. RYAN Progressive Democratic Party
Southern Mary Rose TUITT Progressive Democratic Party
Northern J.J. WEEKES Progressive Democratic Party
North-Western John A. OSBORNE Progressive Democratic Party
Windward John S. DUBLIN Progressive Democratic Party
Central Eustace A. DYER Progressive Democratic Party
Key
MCAP = Movement for Change and Prosperity; MNC = Montserrat National Congress; MULP = Montserrat United Labour Party; PDM = People's Democratic Movement; IND = Independent Candidate; *incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
Montserrat Electoral Commission
Fergus, H.A. 1981. Electoral Behaviour in Montserrat. Caribbean Quarterley, Vol. 27, No. 1. Electoral Politics (MArch 1981), pp. 32-41.
Emmanuel, Patrick A. (1992) Elections & Party Systems in the Commonwealth Caribbean 1944-1991, Caribbean Development Research Service, pp10–24
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