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Oct 5, 2020

A Date for General Elections is Finally Set!!

Belizeans are heading to the polls on November eleventh to elect a new government.  The announcement was formally made this morning via a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister.  A couple of things:  the general elections will be held during a pandemic, a historic first for the country.  While there is precedence set in other island nations across the Caribbean, the Elections and Boundaries Department will be presiding over a process that will see roughly ninety-one percent of the electorate, about one hundred and seventy thousand registered voters, casting ballots on Election Day.  Along with the announcement came two other important dates, including the dissolution of the National Assembly on October sixth and Nomination Day on October twenty-first.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow has since advised the Governor General of those pending dates.  Notwithstanding the dissolution of the national assembly, PM Barrow and the current executives continue in government until the appointment of a successor following the general elections, though his administration is now a lame duck.  On Thursday, party leader elect Patrick Faber will be introduced formally as Barrow’s heir to the U.D.P. throne, following a second round victory against political opponent John Saldivar at a national party convention on July twelfth.  Faber will be challenging Opposition Leader John Briceño for the highest seat in government.  Briceño has never lost an election and leads the People’s United Party which is celebrating seventy years of existence as Belize’s oldest political organization.  In recent months, both parties have seen the retirements of prominent politicians, including that of former prime minister, party leader and perennial Fort George Area Representative Said Musa.  Musa has retired from public life due to illness, after forty years of service to the people.  U.D.P. Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington is also retiring from electoral politics, as well as former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega whose career in politics has been marred by scandal.  In both instances the respective parties have found replacement candidates for all three seats.  Whereas the U.D.P. has three women running for office on its slate, the P.U.P. is fielding Dolores Balderamos Garcia for Belize Rural Central and Dr. Candice Pitts for Mesopotamia.  The upcoming general elections will also see two “third parties” in the political race.

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