BAHAMAS
Parliamentary Chamber: House of Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  House of Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  2 May 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in the House of Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Voters went to the polls on 2 May 2002 to elect the 40 members of House of Assembly. A record 118 candidates from four major political parties and 14 independents were competing for seats. The governing Free National Movement (FNM) presented 40 candidates, while the opposition Progressive Liberal Party of the Bahamas (PLP) put forward 37. In the outgoing House of Assembly, the FNM had 35 seats, as against four for the PLP and one for the Coalition for Democratic Reform.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham retired from the post after ten years in power, paving the way for the new party chief, Mr Tommy Turnquest or the opposition leader, Mr Perry Christie. Under Mr Ingraham's mandate, the Bahamas became one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, with an economy based on offshore banking and tourism. The FNM was credited with restoring the country's international reputation and promoting economic development by wooing foreign developers and hoteliers. However, the party was criticised for offering too many concessions in order to attract foreign investment.

The campaign was marked by slurs relating to drug money and corruption. In the final days before the voting, the FNM revived the scandal over drug money that ten years before had forced the PLP from power. There were insinuations that the PLP had accepted contributions from a tainted bank and a suspected drug lord. On the other hand, the FNM candidate, Mr Turnquest, was accused of corruption with claims that he had awarded contracts for air-conditioning facilities at inflated prices to party supporters.

Police and parliamentary officials reported that everything went smoothly at all polling stations. According to officials results, more than 90 per cent of the voters had cast their ballots. The Progressive Liberal Party won the elections with 50.8% of the vote (29 of 40 seats),as compared with 41.1% (7) for the Free National Movement and 5.2% (4) for independents. A number of cabinet ministers of the outgoing government lost their seats, including the leader of the FNM, Mr Tommy Turnquest.

Mr Perry Christie was sworn in as Prime Minister on 3 May 2002. On 23 May 2002, Mr Oswald Ingraham was elected Speaker of the House Assembly and Ms. Sharon Wilson President of the Senate.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (2 May 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 144 758
Voters 130 536 (90 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 15 564
Valid votes 114 972

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 50.80
Free National Movement (FNM) 41.10
Independents 5.20

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 29 +23
Free National Movement (FNM) 7 -27
Independents 4 +4

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 32
Women: 8
Percent of women: 20.00


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union