Belize’s party political history is one of practicing liberal democracy as a political value, and as such it is not alone as a country which has seen the formation of multiple political parties since 1950. Although no less than 26 parties comprise the list, Belize cannot be said to be a multi-party system whereby more than two parties have been represented and elected to public office. Actually, there was only one instance when a smaller party formed a coalition together with one of the mass parties in Belize; that was when the United Democratic Party/National Alliance for Belizean Rights won 16 of 29 seats in the Legislative election of 1993.
Apart from that, the two main parties, the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party, have so far been dominant and electoral success of any other party has not occurred. As a means of public refresher information, the 26 political parties are listed chronologically.
THE PEOPLE’S COMMITEE, 1950. John Smith. The nucleus of Belize’s first organized national political party, formed after the devaluation of the dollar on December 31, 1949.
THE PEOPLE’S UNITED PARTY, 1950 – John Smith, 1950-1956. Leigh Richardson (Acting) 1953-1956. George Price, 1956-1996. Said Musa, 1996- 2008. John Briceno, 2008-2011. Francis Fonseca, 2011- Formed out of the People’s Committee on September 29, 1950.
THE NATIONAL PARTY, 1951-1958. W H Courtenay. Became amalgamated with the Honduran Independence Party to eventually become the National Independence Party.
THE HONDURAN INDEPENDENCE PARTY, 1956-1958. Leigh Richardson, 1956-1958. Formed by breakaways from the People’s United Party. Merged with the National Party to form the National Independence Party.
THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE PARTY, 1958 -1973. Herbert Fuller, 1958-1961. Philip Goldson, 1961-1973. Amalgamated with the People’s Development Movement and the Liberal Party to form the United Democratic Party.
THE WESTERN INDEPENDENT PARTY, 1958. Juan Gongora. Became affiliated with the National Independence Party.
THE DEMOCRATIC AGRICULTURAL AND LABOUR PARTY, 1958-1961. Afterwards the Christian Democratic Party, 1959]. Nicholas Pollard, 1958-1960. Denbigh Jeffrey, 1960-1961. Formed by 2 ex-People’s United Party members, and after being disbanded in 1961 became amalgamated with the National Independence Party.
THE PEOPLE’S INDEPENDENT PARTY, 1968. [DEFUNCT] Lucilo Teck. Formed in the Corozal district on February 4, 1968.
THE UNITED BLACK ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT, 1968-1974. Evan X Hyde. Formed out of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD), and declared a political party in 1970. THE PEOPLE’S DEVELOPMENT MOVEMENT, 1969-1973. Dean Lindo. Amalgamated with the National Independence Party and. the Liberal Party to form the United Democratic Party.
THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY, 1973 – Dean Lindo, 1974-1979. Theodore Aranda, 1979-1982. Philip Goldson, 1982. Manuel Esquivel, 1983-1998. Dean Barrow, 1998- Formed as a display of unity among political parties opposed to the People’s United Party.
THE COROZAL UNITED FRONT, 1974. Israel Alpuche. Only active in Corozal, and became an affiliate of the United Democratic Party.
THE COROZAL UNITED PARTY, 1978. Converted itself into the Corozal United Democratic Party, and became one of the self-governing divisions of the United Democratic Party.
THE TOLEDO PROGRESSIVE PARTY, 1979. [DEFUNCT] Alejandro Vernon. Only active in Punta Gorda.
THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY, 1982. [DEFUNCT] Theodore Aranda. Formed after he resigned from the United Democratic Party. Only active in Dangriga.
THE BELIZE POPULAR PARTY, 1988. [DEFUNCT] Frederick Hunter, Louis Sylvestre.
THE SAN PEDRO UNITED. MOVEMENT, 198(?) Gilberto Gomez. Active only in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and contested municipal elections for the People’s United Party.
THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR BELIZEAN RIGHTS, 1991 Philip Goldson. Formed by United Democratic Party members to oppose the passage of the Maritime Areas Law. The party was officially recognized by the House of Representatives as a third political party in addition to the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party.
THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY, 1995 — Estevan Perera. For the first time in Belize’s political history there were four contemporary political parties.
THE NATIONAL REALITY TRUTH CREATION PARTY, 1998 Musician, preacher and powdered milk heir Jorge Ernesto Babb. Described itself as a Christian party.
WE THE PEOPLE REFORM MOVEMENT, 2003 — Francis Gegg. Hipolito Bautista. Created as a movement of independent candidates.
VISION INSPIRED BY THE PEOPLE, 2005 — City of Belmopan based, Paul Morgan and Robert López . An aspiring “third” party. In November 2011 the BELIZE UNITY ALLIANCE, comprising of Vision aspired by the People and the People’s National Party, was formed.
THE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL PARTY, 2007 — Wil Maheia. Formed an alliance with We The People Reform Movement named the National Belizean Alliance.
THE NATIONAL REFORM PARTY, 2007 Cornelius Dueck. Described itself as a Christian conservative political party.
CHRISTIANS PURSUING REFORM PARTY, 2007 Richard Smith. Formed in San Ignacio.
– Source Lawrence Vernon – historian, poet, author and former Chief Librarian of Belize.
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