United Democratic Party (Belize)

The United Democratic Party (UDP) is one of the two major political parties in Belize. It is currently the main opposition party, having lost the 2020 Belizean general election, after previously holding the government across three prior terms. Founded as a centre-right conservative party, the UDP is led by the former minister of education Hon. Patrick Faber.

United Democratic Party
LeaderPatrick Faber
ChairpersonMichael Peyrefitte
Deputy LeaderHugo Patt
Vice ChairpersonAlberto August
Founded27 September 1973
Merger ofNational Independence Party
People's Development Movement
Liberal Party
United Black Association for Development (partial)
HeadquartersYouth for the Future Drive, Belize City, Belize
NewspaperThe Guardian
Youth wingYouth Popular Front
IdeologyConservatism[1][2][3]
Political positionCentre-right[4][5]
Regional affiliationCaribbean Democrat Union
ColorsRed
Seats in the Senate
3 / 13
Seats in the House
5 / 31
Council Control
0 / 9
Councillors
2 / 67
Party flag
Flag of the Belize United Democratic Party.svg
Website
www.udp.org.bz

FoundingEdit

 
United Democratic Party flag in Corozal.

In 1973 political opposition in Belize was weak and the ruling People's United Party (PUP) had never lost a legislative election since its foundation. The main opposition parties, the National Independence Party and the People's Development Movement met together with a new Liberal Party to consider forming an alliance to fight the PUP. The resulting merger formed the United Democratic Party on 27 September 1973. Controversially, a significant portion of the United Black Association for Development also voted to join the UDP upon foundation.[6]

Subsequent historyEdit

The UDP's first electoral test was the 1974 general election in which it fielded candidates nationwide except in Corozal District, where it supported candidates from the Corozal United Front. It won six seats, and was within 18 votes of winning three more. Former People's Development Movement head Dean Lindo was subsequently named party leader. The party had success in municipal elections during the 1970s, but failed to defeat the PUP in the 1979 general elections. Its representation in the House of Representatives dropped to five seats and party leader Lindo lost his seat to Said Musa and was replaced as leader by Theodore Aranda. Despite internal divisions, the party retained control of three towns in the December 1981 municipal elections

In late 1982 Aranda was removed as party leader and replaced by Curl Thompson, who in turn was replaced by former Liberal Party leader Manuel Esquivel following a convention. In December 1983 the UDP won Belize City Council elections and the following year they were victorious in the general elections, winning 21 of the 28 seats.[7] However, they lost power in the 1989 elections, winning 13 seats to the PUP's 15.

For the 1993 elections the party formed an alliance with the National Alliance for Belizean Rights. The alliance won 16 of the 29 seats, with the UDP taking fifteen.[7] However, they were soundly defeated in the 1998 elections as the PUP won 26 of the 29 seats, after which Esquivel was replaced by Barrow as party leader. The PUP remained in power following the 2003 elections, in which the UDP only won seven seats. After ten years in opposition, the UDP won the 2008 general elections, taking 25 of the 31 seats.[8]

Then Prime Minister Dean Barrow called for elections to take place in November 2020. This was during the global COVID-19 Pandemic which had hit the country's economy hard. The pandemic, along with impacts of Hurricane Eta gave voters a strong descent with the current government.[9] They suffered one of the worst results in the party's history winning only 5 of the 31 seats.

List of leadersEdit

Electoral historyEdit

House of Representatives electionsEdit

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Outcome
1974 Dean Lindo 9,069 38.93%
6 / 18
  6   2nd Opposition
1979 21,045 47.4%
5 / 18
  1   2nd Opposition
1984 Manuel Esquivel 25,756 54.1%
21 / 28
  16   1st Supermajority government
1989 28,900 49.0%
13 / 28
  8   2nd Opposition
1993 34,306 48.7%

In alliance with NABR

16 / 29
  3   1st Majority government
1998 33,237 39.41%
3 / 29
  12   2nd Opposition
2003 Dean Barrow 45,376 45.57%
7 / 29
  4   2nd Opposition
2008 66,203 56.61%
25 / 31
  17   1st Supermajority government
2012 64,976 50.37%
17 / 31
  8   1st Majority government
2015 71,452 50.52%
19 / 31
  2   1st Majority government
2020 Patrick Faber 42,724 38.61%
5 / 31
  14   2nd Opposition

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Debusmann, Bernd (10 January 1985), "Ex-Colony Fears Guatemala : Belize Wants Britain's Troops to Stay on Its Soil", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 5 March 2012
  2. ^ Gunson, Phil (1991). The dictionary of contemporary politics of Central America and the Caribbean. Routledge. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-415-02445-7.
  3. ^ "Belize", Hutchinson country facts, Helicon, retrieved 5 March 2012
  4. ^ Freedom in the World 2011 – Belize, Freedom House, 12 May 2011, archived from the original on 13 September 2012
  5. ^ Country overview: Belize, TrustLaw, archived from the original on 18 September 2012, retrieved 5 March 2012
  6. ^ Hyde, Evan X, "From The Publisher" Amandala, 24 October 2008. (accessed 10 May 2015)
  7. ^ a b Nohlen, p106
  8. ^ Belize's opposition party wins landslide in congressional elections Associated Press, 9 February 2008
  9. ^ "Belize elects opposition leader to succeed retiring prime minister". nationalpost. Retrieved 12 November 2020.

External linksEdit