Elections in Jamaica
1944 – Jamaica was granted full adult suffrage for the election of members to the House of Representatives. Under the leadership of Alexander Bustamante, the JLP won 22 seats, the PNP, led by Norman Manley, won 5 and the Independents won 5 seats. Bustamante won his seat in Kingston but Manley lost his in St. Andrew.
1949 – The second General Parliamentary Election was held on December 20, 1949. The JLP won this election with 17 seats while the PNP took 13 seats while the JLP won 17 seats. Independents along with two then emerging parties – The Agricultural Industrial Party and the United Party of Jamaica had candidates contesting, but won no seats.
1955 – The third General Parliamentary Election was contested on January 12, 1955. The PNP won for the first time, with 18 seats compared to the JLP’s 14 seats. 63.93% of the electorate voted. Eleven independents ran along with four minor parties. The Hon. Norman Manley became the second person to become Chief Minister.
1958 – Norman Manley took the country into the West Indies Federation with the other British islands in the Caribbean. In the federal election, the JLP won 12 seats of the 17 seats allotted to Jamaica, compared to the PNP’s 5. Neither party leader ran for the Federal Parliament.
1959 – The fourth General Parliamentary Election was held on July 28. The two major parties contested in the 45 constituencies. The PNP took 29, while the JLP took the remaining 16 seats. Jamaica by that time had gained Internal Self Government. This led to the abolition of the Council of Ministers, which was replaced by the Cabinet headed by the Premier the Hon. Norman Manley. and 11 other Ministers chosen by the Premier and appointed by the Governor. The position of Parliamentary Secretary was also introduced.
1961 – The country’s first referendum was held to decide whether Jamaica should remain in the Federation. The PNP supported Jamaica’s membership, while the JLP wanted the country to withdraw. On September 19 the question was asked: “Should Jamaica remain in the West Indies Federation?” A total of 54.1% voted “No” to to 45.9% which voted “Yes”.
1962 – The fifth General Parliamentary Election took place on April 10. Two major parties contested 45 constituencies. The JLP won with 26 seats, while the PNP took 19 seats. The People’s Political Party polled in 16 constituencies and Independents in 8 constituencies. The Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante became the first Prime Minister of Independent Jamaica. Jamaica became an independent nation on August 6, 1962.
1967 – The sixth General Parliamentary Election was held on February 12. The JLP won 33 of the 53 seats, while the PNP took 18 seats. The Rt. Hon. Donald Sangster became the second Prime Minister. He died in April 1967 after a short illness. The Rt. Hon. Hugh Shearer became the third Prime Minister.
1972 – The seventh General Parliamentary Election was held on February 29. The PNP, under the leadership of Michael Manley, who became the new leader of the party in 1969, won 37 seats while the JLP took 16 seats. The Right Honourable Michael Manley became Jamaica’s fourth Prime Minister.
1976 – The eighth General Parliamentary Election was held. The PNP took 47 of the 60 seats, while the JLP won 13 seats. The Rt. Hon. Michael Manley again became Prime Minister. This election was held during a National State of Emergency.
1980 – The ninth General Parliamentary Election was held on October 30, 1980. The JLP took 51 seats, while the PNP won 9 seat. The Right Honorable Edward Seaga, who was chosen Leader of the JLP in 1974 became the fifth Prime Minister.
1983 – The 10th General Parliamentary Election was held on December 15, 1983. The PNP boycotted the election and therefore JLP represented all 60 constituencies.
1989 – The eleventh General Parliamentary Election was held on February 9, 1989. The election was won by the PNP with 45 seats, to the JLP’s 15 seats. Michael Manley retired from active politics in March 1992 and P.J. Patterson assumed the leadership of the PNP.
1993 – The twelfth General Parliamentary Election was held in February. The PNP won 52 seats, while the JLP took 8 seats. The Right Honourable P.J. Patterson became Prime Minister.
1997 – The thirteenth General Parliamentary Election was held on December 17, 1997. The PNP won 50 seats, while the JLP won 10. The National Democrat Movement contested election for the first time and secured 36,707 votes. The Rt. Hon. P.J. Patterson was returned as Prime Minister.
2002 – The fourteenth General Parliamentary Election was held on October 16, 2002. The PNP won 34 seats, while the JLP won 26 seats. The Imperial Ethiopian World Federation Inc (IEWP) party, the United Peoples Party (UPP), the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and a few Independents all contested the election and achieved 4,057. The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson was returned as Prime Minister a third time and PNP a fourth term.
2007 – The fifteenth General Parliamentary Election was held September 3, 2007. The JLP won 32 seats, while PNP won 28 seats with 49.35% of the votes. The National Democratic Movement, Imperial Ethiopian World, Jerusalem Bread Foundation and independent candidates all contested the election and achieved 5,532 votes all together. The Hon. Bruce Golding became Jamaica’s eighth Prime Minister since Independence.