BAHAMAS
Parliamentary Chamber: House of Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1997

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Chamber:
  House of Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  14 March 1997


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in the House of Assembly following premature dissolution of this body. General elections had previously been held in August 1992.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Parliament's normal term was due to expire in August 1997, but the House of Assembly was prematurely dissolved on 13 February 1997. Prior to the poll, the number of House seats was reduced from 49 to 40.

Once again, the main contestants for these seats were the ruling Free National Movement (FNM) of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) of the former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling, who had led the country to independence in 1973. During the campaign, both men promised a government that would crack down on crime and expand employment opportunities. The FNM pointed to its record since taking the reins of power from the PLP in 1992, saying that it had opened markets, improved the islands' infrastructure, revitalised tourism and created 14,000 new jobs. The PLP, which along with its leader were tarnished by recent allegations of corruption, vowed more State involvement in the economy to fight unemployment. Altogether, 99 candidates (including 40 for each of the chief contenders and 11 independents) were in the running.

On polling day, the conservative FNM swept to a landslide victory, leaving the centrist PLP with only six seats - 10 less than before. In this context, Mr. Ingraham was sworn in as Prime Minister on 18 March and announced that fighting poverty and bad housing, as well as crime, would be priority items during the FNM's second term in office; he also pledged to continue policies of accountability and prudent management. The new Cabinet was named on 18 March.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (14 March 1997): Elections results  
Voters 121,073
Blank or invalid ballot papers 1,900
Valid votes 119,173

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Free National Movement (FNM) 68,766 57.7
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 49,932 41.9

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Free National Movement (FNM) 34 +1
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 6 -10

Comments:
  Seats reduced by nine since last elections

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 34
Women: 6
Percent of women: 15.00


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Copyright 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union