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Municipal Elections 2021: The figures and what’s at stake

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Posted: Wednesday, March 3, 2021. 10:10 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Today’s municipal elections come down to a set of figures.

94,890 – the number of eligible voters going to the polls to select municipal leaders.

Nine – the number of cities (two) and towns (seven), eligible to participate in the election aside from Corozal Bay, where a by-election is being held.

160 – the number of candidates nominated. The United Democratic Party (UDP) and the People’s United Party (PUP) each have 67 candidates, while there are 12 independents, as well as 10 Belize Progressive Party (BPP) candidates in Punta Gorda and Belize City, 3 Belize People’s Front (BPF) candidates in Dangriga, and 1 Unity Upliftment Party (UUP) candidate in Dangriga.

67 – the number of seats available – 11 in Belize City and 56 elsewhere.

34 – the number of seats needed for a majority; currently, the UDP controls 41 of 67 seats and 6 of 9 municipalities gained in the 2018 election.

After November’s general elections, the conventional wisdom and historical trends suggest it will be a sweep or near-sweep for the PUP; but in 2018, an unpopular UDP government held the majority though lost Corozal and Belize City to the PUP. The last time the PUP held a majority in the municipal councils was 2003 – when they were also in Central Government.

In the case of the by-election, the UDP is defending a streak of their own – three consecutive by-elections won dating back to 2003 when John Saldivar outpointed Joaquin Cawich in Cayo South. In fact, the incumbent has lost every single by-election since Independence dating back to Derek Aikman’s bankruptcy-induced exit in 1992, when the National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR) trailed the PUP’s Jorge Espat and UDP’s Howell Longsworth.

All sides are confident and the weather is perfect, though the shadow of COVID-19 lingers. We’ll have continued updates through the course of the day and results as they happen tonight.

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