2017 Bermudian general election

General elections were held in Bermuda on 18 July 2017 to elect all 36 members to the House of Assembly. The result was a victory for the opposition Progressive Labour Party, which won 24 of the 36 seats. Incumbent Premier Michael Dunkley subsequently resigned as leader of the One Bermuda Alliance.[1] Bob Richards, a senior minister and deputy premier in Dunkley's government unexpectedly lost his Devonshire East seat.[2]

2017 Bermudian general election

← 2012 18 July 2017 2020 →
  First party Second party
Leader Edward David Burt Michael Dunkley
Leader's seat Pembroke West Central Smiths North
Last election 17 19
Seats won 24 12
Seat change Increase 7 Decrease 7
Popular vote 20,059 13,837
Percentage 58.88% 40.62%
Swing Increase12.81pp Decrease11.06pp

Results by constituency

Premier before election

Michael Dunkley

Elected Premier

Edward David Burt

Background edit

Under section 49(2) of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968, the Parliament of Bermuda must be dissolved by the Governor five years after its first meeting following the previous elections (unless the Premier advises the Governor to dissolve parliament sooner). Under section 51(1) of the Constitution, a general election must be held no later than three months after a dissolution.[3] As the first meeting of the parliament elected in December 2012 took place on 8 February 2013,[4] meaning parliament would have needed to be dissolved before midnight on 7 February 2018 for elections to take place before 7 May 2018.

However, after the ruling One Bermuda Alliance lost its majority in the House of Assembly when two of its MPs left to sit as independents, the opposition Progressive Labour Party proposed a vote of no-confidence which was scheduled for 9 June 2017. Dunkley pre-empted the vote on 8 June 2017 by asking the Governor to dissolve the House and call elections for 18 July 2017.[5]

Campaign edit

The PLP was widely considered to have run on a populist platform, highlighting peoples' disenchantment with the political system. The campaign had been compared to the UK Independence Party and Donald Trump's electoral campaigns.[6] The party's campaign slogan was "Let's Put Bermudians First".[7]

In contrast, the OBA had campaigned on its economic record in government,[8] using the slogan "Forward Together, Not Back".[9]

Results edit

Progressive Labour Party20,05958.8824+7
One Bermuda Alliance13,83740.6212–7
Registered voters/turnout46,669
Source: Parliamentary Registry

Irregularities edit

The taxpayer-funded Parliamentary Registry, Bermuda's election management body, assisted the PLP, supplying the party — but not their opponents — with contact information for all registered voters to aid in their campaigning.[10] According to Parliamentary Registrar Tenia Woolridge shortly after the election, there is no law prohibiting this release and that such an action would be solely at the discretion of the Registrar; she further admitted that the Registry had begun sending the PLP the information in 2012 under Ms. Woolridge's predecessor, Kenneth Randolph Scott.[11] The Registry ceased assisting the PLP four days prior to the election, when the OBA became aware and made a complaint.[12] One year after the election, the OBA issued a press release criticising the refusal of the Registry to release a report on the incident,[13][14] to which the Registry responded by claiming that the Governor of Bermuda had already settled the matter in a letter and also declaring that it would refuse any further comment until unspecified "inaccuracies" made by the OBA in June, 2018, in connection to the issue were corrected.[12][15]

References edit

  1. ^ Dunkley resigns as OBA leader The Royal Gazette, 19 July 2017
  2. ^ The agony of defeat The Royal Gazette, 19 July 2017
  3. ^ Bermuda Constitution Order 1968 Bermuda Laws
  4. ^ Sitting number 1 of the 2013 Session Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine Hansard
  5. ^ Dunkley calls election for July 18 The Royal Gazette, 9 June 2017
  6. ^ Five things to look out for in the election Archived 2019-09-10 at the Wayback Machine, The Royal Gazette, 13 July 2017
  7. ^ PLP Candidates: Let's Put Bermudians First Progressive Labour Party (Youtube)
  8. ^ The people have spoken Archived 2019-09-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Royal Gazette, 19 July 2017
  9. ^ Coming soon. #ForwardTogetherNotBack Michael H Dunkley (Twitter)
  10. ^ Investigation launched into ‘unsolicited’ election e-mails, The Royal Gazette, 18 July 2017
  11. ^ Release of voter information in 2012, The Royal Gazette, 10 Aug 2017
  12. ^ a b Registrar hits back at Opposition claim, The Royal Gazette, 17 July 2018
  13. ^ OBA cry foul over voters’ details, The Royal Gazette, 16 July 2018
  14. ^ Video: OBA On Access To Voter’s Information, Bernews, 16 July 2018
  15. ^ Registry Office Responds To OBA Comments, Bernews, 17 July 2018