Monday, 15 May 2017

The Bahamas General Election

On 10th May, The Bahamas had a general election.  This island nation is a Commonwealth realm which became independent in 1973, but which retains Elizabeth II as monarch.  There were 39 seats up for grabs (an increase of since the general election of 2012).  The centre-left governing Progressive Liberal Party under Perry Christie held 29 of the seats, and the centre-right Free National Movement under Hubert Minnis held 9 of the seats, as they went into the election.

These have been fractious times in The Bahamas.  The opposition FNM has been in disarray - dismissing its leader in December 2016 amidst party in-fighting, and re-appointing him in April, just before the election.  The governing PLP has been scandal-ridden, amidst charges over the late Anna Nicole Smith and her residency in The Bahamas, which was granted at a time when the Immigration Minister was one of her lovers.  Although she died in 2007, the scandal has had considerable effect on the standing of the PLP.

In the elections, a complete change of fortune occurred - the PLP went down from 29 seats to just 4, with the FNM increased from 9 to 35 of the seats, a considerable majority.

As a kingdom overseas of Elizabeth II, Governors-General are appointed to administer the realm on her behalf.  Of the eleven The Bahamas have had, 9 have lived to be over eighty, and five are still alive, the youngest of whom is 87.  The current Governor-General is Dame Marguerite Pindling, widow of Lynden Pindling, who was Prime Minister from 1969-1992, presiding over independence in 1973.  Apart from the out-going Perry Christie, the only other living former Prime Minister is Hubert Ingraham.

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