1953 British Guiana general election

General elections were held in British Guiana on 27 April 1953.[1] They were the first held under universal suffrage and resulted in a victory for the People's Progressive Party (PPP), which won 18 of the 24 seats in the new House of Assembly. Its leader, Cheddi Jagan, became Prime Minister.[1]

1953 British Guiana general election

← 1947 27 April 1953 1957 →

24 (of the 28) seats in the House of Assembly
15 seats needed for a majority
Registered208.939
Turnout156.226 (74.77%)
  First party Second party
  Cheddi Jagan Anefo.jpg Noimage.png
Leader Cheddi Jagan Rudy Kendall
Party PPP NDP
Leader since 1 January 1950 1953
Leader's seat Corentyne Coast New Amsterdam
Seats won
18 / 24
2 / 24
Popular vote 77,695 20,032
Percentage 51.04% 13.16%

Chief Minister before election

None

Elected Chief Minister

Cheddi Jagan
PPP

Electoral systemEdit

Constitutional reforms as a result of the Waddington Commission had led to the creation of the House of Assembly to replace the Legislative Council. The new House had 28 members; 24 members elected in single member constituencies, a speaker appointed by the Governor and three ex officio members (the Chief Secretary, the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary).[2]

CampaignEdit

The PPP ran candidates in 22 of the 24 constituencies, failing to contest the two interior constituencies due to a lack of money. The National Democratic Party contested 15 constituencies and the People's National Party eight.[3] A total of 85 independents,[4] including four United Guiana Party candidates, also contested the elections.[3] The United Workers and Farmers Party did run as a party, but contested some seats as independents.[3]

ResultsEdit

PartyVotes%Seats
People's Progressive Party77,69551.0418
National Democratic Party20,03213.162
People's National Party3,0001.970
Independents51,50433.834
Total152,231100.0024
Valid votes152,23197.44
Invalid/blank votes3,9952.56
Total votes156,226100.00
Registered voters/turnout208,93974.77
Source: GECOM

Elected membersEdit

Constituency Member Party Notes
1 – North West William Alfred Phang Independent
2 – Pomeroon Thomas Sherwood Wheating Independent
3 – Western Essequibo Janet Jagan People's Progressive Party Deputy Speaker
4 – Essequibo Islands Theophilus Lee Independent
5 – Bartica and Interior Eugene Francis Correia National Democratic Party
6 – Demerara-Essequibo Fred Bowman People's Progressive Party
7 – West Bank Demerara Jai Narine Singh People's Progressive Party Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare
8 – East Bank Demerara Joseph Prayag Lachhmansingh People's Progressive Party Minister of Health and Housing
9 – Upper Demerara River Charles Albert Carter Independent
10 – Georgetown South Ashton Chase People's Progressive Party Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce
11 – Georgetown South Central Clinton Reginald Wong People's Progressive Party
12 – Georgetown Central Jessie Burnham People's Progressive Party
13 – Georgetown North Frank Obermuller van Sertima People's Progressive Party
14 – Georgetown North-East Forbes Burnham People's Progressive Party Minister of Education
15 – West Central Demerara Ram Karran People's Progressive Party
16 – Central Demerara Sydney Evanson King People's Progressive Party Minister of Communications and Works
17 – East Central Demerara Jane Phillips-Gay People's Progressive Party
18 – Mahaica-Mahaicony Chandra Sama Persaud People's Progressive Party
19 – Western Berbice Samuel Mahabali Latchmansingh People's Progressive Party
20 – New Amsterdam Rudy Kendall National Democratic Party
21 – Berbice River Ajodha Singh People's Progressive Party
22 – Eastern Berbice Robert Stanley Hanoman Singh People's Progressive Party
23 – Corentyne Coast Cheddi Jagan People's Progressive Party Leader of the House and Minister of Agriculture, Forests, Lands and Mines
24 – Corentyne River Mohamed Khan People's Progressive Party

AftermathEdit

After assuming power Jagan embarked on implementing a series of policies that involved radical social reform, mainly directed at the colonial oligarchy. The British colonial authorities sent in troops in response to the alleged threat of a Marxist revolution. Governor Alfred Savage suspended the constitution in October (only 133 days after it had come into force) and set up a transitional government of conservative politicians, businessmen and civil servants.[1] Writing in The Guardian in 2020, Gaiutra Bahadur said that "the overthrow of Guyana’s ruling party by colonial forces fomented a racial divide that continues to blight its politics", saying that there was a greater crackdown on the Afro-Guyanese than on the Indo-Guyanese, in a deliberate and successful attempt to divide the PPP.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p354 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  2. ^ Historical information events and dates on the Parliament of Guyana from 1718 to 2006 Parliament of Guyana
  3. ^ a b c The election campaign in 1953 Guyana News and Information
  4. ^ 1953 Election Archived 2016-06-16 at the Wayback Machine GECOM
  5. ^ "In 1953, Britain openly removed an elected government, with tragic consequences | Gaiutra Bahadur". the Guardian. October 30, 2020.