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Montserrat General Election Results - 11 November 1996

General elections were held in Montserrat on 11 November 1996.

Electoral System

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

Background

Governor Frank Savage dissolved the seven-seat parliament on Tuesday, 8 October 1996 at the request of Chief Minister Reuben Meade ahead of a debate on a no-confidence motion.  Opponents had charged that Meade, of the National Progressive Party (NPP), had mishandled a crisis caused by the eruption of the island's volcano, which he denies. Meade was outnumbered 4-3 in parliament by independents.  Nomination Day was set for Thursday, 31 October 1996.

Political Parties & Candidates

Twenty-six candidates contested the elections. All three parties – People's Progressive Alliance (PPA), Movement for National Reconstruction (MNR), and National Progressive Party (NPP) – nominated seven candidates, with five independents also running

Election Campaign

The MNR had promised in its election manifesto to immediately improve conditions in the shelters. Its leader, former Chief Minister, Austin Bramble, suggested that the biggest issue to be decided by the electorate was which grouping combined the qualities required for good government - capability, honesty, compassion, and experience.  Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance, John Osborne, also a former Chief Minister, raised a variation of the same concern, but with a focus on the economy.  Incumbent Chief Minister, Reuben Meade's National Progressive Party campaigned on his government’s management of the crisis.

The campaign also saw the launching of original election calypsos by all three parties and by several independents. 

Results

The election led to no overall parliamentary majority for any party.  The Movement for National Reconstruction (MNR) led by Bertrand Osborne formed a coalition government supported by former Chief Minister Reuben Meade from the National Progressive Party (NPP) and an independent.  The People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA), despite winning 35% of the vote, formed the opposition in the Legislative Council. 

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 58.1% of the 7,238 registered voters.

Post-election

In August 1997, Bertrand Osborne resigned when three of his ministers withdrew their support; and following popular protests against the British government, which was felt to have neglected islanders' needs in the emergency caused by the volcanic eruptions. Mr Osborne's position on the issue was not regarded as sufficiently strong, and he was replaced by an independent member of the Legislative Council, David Brandt, a lawyer and independent, who formed a coalition government.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 7 single-member constituencies
VOTER TURNOUT
Total Valid Votes 4,161
Invalid Votes 45
Total Votes Cast 4,206
Registered Voters 7,238
Voter Turnout 58.11%
   
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of Legislative Assembly Tue, 8 Oct 1996
Nomination Day Thu, 31 Oct 1996
Polling Day Mon, 11 Nov 1996
SUMMARY RESULTS
Party Code Votes % votes Candidates Seats
People's Progressive Alliance PPA 1,472 35.00% 7 2
Movement for National Reconstruction MNR 930 22.10% 7 2
National Progressive Party NPP 809 19.22% 7 1
Independents IND 950 23.68% 5 2
Total 4,161 100% 26 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
Southern Bertrand OSBORNE Movement for National Reconstruction
Plymouth Brunelle MEADE People's Progressive Alliance
Windward David S. BRANDT Independent
Eastern Adelina TUITT Movement for National Reconstruction
Northern Rupert WEEKES Independent
Northwestern John A. OSBORNE People's Progressive Alliance
Central Reuben T. MEADE National Progressive 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
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