2020 Belizean general election
All 31 seats in the House of Representatives
16 seats needed for a majority
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The previous general elections were held on 4 November 2015, and the new National Assembly was opened on 13 November 2015. According to Section 84 of the Constitution of Belize, the National Assembly must be dissolved "five years from the date when the two Houses of the former National Assembly first met" unless dissolved sooner by the Governor-General of Belize upon the advice of the prime minister. A general election must be called within three months of a dissolution, which means the latest possible date for the next Belizean general election is 13 February 2021.
Despite the five-year term, three of the last four general elections have been called at least a year early. Both Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the opposition People's United Party are on record supporting lowering the maximum term of the National Assembly to four years.
Barrow initially stated his intention to retire as Prime Minister no later than the end of 2019, but changed his mind to stay on until 2020 after his Cabinet urged him to do so. However, he said that he would still retire as UDP Leader at the party's national convention and leadership election, which was first tentatively scheduled for 9 February 2020. He strongly hinted at a snap election in early 2020. But in May 2019, dismissed that remarked and said that elections would be held in November 2020.
The ruling United Democratic Party, which has been in power since 2008, will attempt to win a fourth consecutive general election. However, both major parties are likely to contest this election with first-time leaders. UDP leader and Prime Minister Dean Barrow has stated he will step down from both posts in the months leading up to the election to make way for a new leader. The UDP had tentatively scheduled a May 2019 convention to name Barrow's successor as party leader, but in January 2019 the date was pushed back to February 2020. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber and Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar contested the position. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred Elrington had also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but did not stand in the convention.
On 9 February 2020, Saldivar was elected UDP leader over Faber, but three days later was forced to resign after allegations surfaced he accepted US$ 50,000 from accused fraudster Lev Dermen, who was on trial in Salt Lake City, leaving the future of UDP leadership unclear. Saldivar was also stripped of his Cabinet post.
Despite gains in Belize City in 2015, most notably Kareem Musa's upset win over Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley in the Caribbean Shores constituency, the opposition PUP remained at 11 seats overall thanks to losses in the Cayo and Corozal Districts. The PUP is expected to run with Leader of the Opposition Johnny Briceño as its leader. Francis Fonseca, who led the party during the past two general elections, resigned from leadership soon after the party's 2015 loss. Although Briceño served a previous term as PUP leader from 2008 to 2011, he has yet to lead the party during a general election. Briceño, who represents a constituency in Orange Walk Town, would be the first PUP member to lead the party in an election who is not from Belize City.
The election will be marked by several high-profile retirements. Fonseca and former PUP Prime Minister Said Musa initially indicated they will stand down from their respective House seats at this election. However, both have decided to stay for the last time. Both also stated that this would be their last election as Area Representatives. Musa, who has contested the Belize City-based Fort George constituency in every election since 1974, is the sole remaining House member who served prior to Belize's 1981 independence from Great Britain.
On the UDP side, former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega has also announced he is standing down. Other announced UDP retirements include Barrow – who has served in the Belize House continuously since 1984 – and Michael Finnegan, who has been in office since 1993. Moses Barrow, Dean Barrow's son and Finnegan's nephew, is reportedly interested in succeeding Finnegan as the UDP standard bearer in the Mesopotamia constituency. Veteran UDP Area Representative Anthony Martinez will also not seek re-election.
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