The seventeenth General Parliamentary Elections were held in Jamaica on 25 February 2016 for all 63 seats in the House of Representatives.
The 63 members of the House of Representatives are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. There is no fixed election date in effect in Jamaica at this time; hence, the choice of election date is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
The Representation of the People Act permits the candidacy of voters above the age of 21. Any Commonwealth citizen residing in Jamaica can vote in the election if they are older than 18 years. To be included on the ballot, a nomination must include the signatures of at least ten eligible voters from the same constituency. The nomination form must then be submitted during a four-hour period on nomination day.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had implemented an austerity plan as part of a $1.27 billion IMF bailout agreement during her time as the country's first woman Prime Minister. Inflation hit a 48-year low during her tenure.
Simpson-Miller announced the date of the general election on 31 January 2016. The nomination date of 9 February 2016 was also announced. The election can be considered as having been called early, as it was constitutionally due between 29 December 2016 (the date in 2011 of the previous general election) and 16 April 2017 (within five years and three months of the date in 2012 of the first sitting of the new Parliament, on 17 January).
Political Parties & Candidates
The elections were largely a contest between the governing People's National Party (PNP) and the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
A total of 152 candidates contestested the election - 126 men and 26 women.
These comprised 63 candidates each for the two major political parties - the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), eight from the National Democratic Movement (NDM), seven from the Marcus Garvey People's Progressive Party (MGPPP), two from the People's Progressive Party (PPP), and nine independent candidates.
During the election campaign, the PNP ran on the government's record, pledging to continue to work for security, progress and development for all. The JLP announced a 10-point plan, focusing on economic growth, job creation and tax reforms.
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), led by former Prime Minister Andrew Holness, regained power after four years in opposition, winning the smallest majority in Jamaica's history. After a recount of the vote, the JLP took 32 seats in the 63-member House of Representatives, one more than outgoing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's People's National Party (PNP).
On 3 March, Holness was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.
Voter turnout was 48.37%.