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BLZ | Nov 12, 2020

Opposition celebrates massive victory in Belize general elections

/ Our Today

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John Briceno, leader of the People’s United Party.

BELMOPAN, Belize

The latest CARICOM nation to hold general elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the incumbent administration emphatically booted from government.

The United Democratic Party (UDP), led for the first time by Patrick Faber after Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s resignation from active politics, was shunted out of office and denied a fourth consecutive term by the John Briceno-led People’s United Party (PUP) which has taken as many as 27 of the 31 seats in Parliament.

It was a massive turnaround in fortune for the PUP which in 2015, under the leadership of Francis Fonseca, had only been able to win 12 seats.

“Thank you Belize, thank you so much. Stay safe. God bless you and God bless our beloved Belize,” Briceno said Wednesday as he addresses a small group of supporters observing COVID-19 protocols after the results were announced.

Belize has been under curfew as a part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 4,500 and killed at least 75 in that nation.

Patrick Faber, leader of the United Democratic Party.

The result would have been a shock for Faber, who last month had projected a comfortable victory, and aimed to extend the UDP’s 12 years in power.

“I call on all our people – UDPs, PUPs and those that voted for the third party and independent candidates – to choose national unity as we band together in the face of the challenges we will no doubt face,” Faber said as he conceded defeat.

“While there were winners and losers, the democracy that we have continued to enjoy throughout the life of this great young nation is by far the greatest winner today.”

Briceno, in the meantime, said he recognised that the 2020 election was “a clarion call for our young nation to grow up, to face the challenges of our generation and to advance our peaceful and progressive revolutions”.

With a stagnant economy and rising COVID-19 infections among concerns that dominated the election campaign, the Election and Boundaries Department reported an 80 per cent turnout among the 182,815 registered to vote.

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