By Aaron Humes : Prime Minister Dean Barrow made a special tribute to his opposite number, Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, who is serving out his final term as PUP leader and Opposition leader, during Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives.
He described him as a dignified, indefatigable campaigner and legislator, who was a credit to Belizean politics. Fonseca stands down after his successor is selected at the January 31 PUP national convention, and leaves the House when it is next dissolved.
But when will that be? P.M. Barrow has called two general elections early. He has already said there will not be any more early elections and today inside the House of Representatives, he even hinted that for the next general elections, he expects to extend the term beyond the customary 5 years by the constitutionally allowed 3 months, joking that the 12 Opposition members must have serious fortitude to survive that time.
Unless sooner dissolved by the Governor General as advised by the Prime Minister, the life of the National Assembly is five years from the first scheduled meeting, which was November 13, 2015. That means that this National Assembly would be dissolved on November 13, 2020.
General elections must be called within three months of a dissolution, therefore byFebruary 13, 2021.
Former Prime Minister Sir Manuel Esquivel dissolved the House for elections on August 27, 1998 in his second term, employing this strategy, and his United Democratic Party received its worst defeat since formation in 1973, winning just three seats out of 29, prompting his retirement and the rise of Dean Barrow to party leader, a position which he has held ever since.
Barrow has said he will step down as party leader and Prime Minister once his successor is selected by the UDP.
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