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General Election Results - 5 December 1979

General elections were held on Wednesday, 5 December 1979 for all the Representatives elected to the House of Assembly in the first general elections since St. Vincent became fully independent on 27 October 1979.

The unicameral Parliament of St. Vincent, the House of Assembly, comprises 13 elected Representatives and six Senators appointed by the Governor-General – four on the advice of the Prime Minister and two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.  The normal duration of the legislature is five years.

Fifty candidates vied for the 13 seats from four contending parties.  The St. Vincent Labour Party (SVLP) led by R. Milton Cato, Prime Minister since 1974; the People's Political Party (PPP), the SVLP's traditional rival, headed by E.T. Joshua; the New Democratic Party, led by James F. Mitchell; and the United People's Movement of Ralph Gonsalves, which contested elections for the first time.  All four groups presented a similar manifesto but ideologically the United People's Movement was oriented to the left much as the political groups which had recently come to power in Grenada and Saint Lucia.  The SVLP (considered a moderate socialist party), the centrist New Democratic Party and the People's Political Party were oriented to the right.

On polling day, the SVLP obtained a clear victory as it captured 11 of the 13 seats.  The other two seats went to New Democratic Party candidates although the NDP leader, James Mitchell, was himself defeated.  Voter turnout was 63.9%.

Cato became Prime Minister; his new Cabinet begun its work on 7 December and was formally confirmed in office on 24 January 1980.
The successful candidate for the Grenadines seat, C.E. Cozier resigned shortly after the election.  In the by-election of 23 June 1980, Mitchell obtained 1,742 votes compared to 584 for Timothy Hazell (SVLP) to return to the House of Assembly.

ELECTION SNAPSHOT
Total Valid Votes 32,955
Invalid Votes 321
Total Votes Cast 33,276
Population 119,000
Voting Age Population 57,120
Registered Voters 52,073
Voter Turnout 63.90%
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of First Parliament Wed, 7 Nov 1979
Nomination Day Mon, 19 Nov 1979
Polling Day Wed, 5 Dec 1979
First Meeting of Second Parliament -
POLITICAL LEADERS
  Photo Milton CATO Winner
St. Vincent Labour Party (SVLP)
  Photo James MITCHELLWinner
New Democratic Party (NDP)
  Photo Ebenezer JOSHUA
People's Political Party (PPP)
  Photo Ralph GONSALVES
United People's Movement (UPM)
RELATED RESOURCES
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution (1979) Download report
SUMMARY RESULTS
  Party Code  Votes Number of Candidates Seats
Total % votes Change Number Change
  Saint Vincent Labour Party SVLP 17,876 54.24% -14.8% 13 11 +1
  New Democratic Party NDP 9,022 27.38% +27.4% 13 2 +2
  United People's Movemnet UPM 4,467 13.55% +13.6% 12 0 -
  People's Political Party PPP 1,492 4.53% -8.9% 11 0 -2
  Independents IND 98 0.30% +0.3% 1 0 -
  Total Valid Votes Total 32,955 100% - 50 13 -
SUMMARY BY CONSTITUENCY AND PARTY
North Windward 2,943 566 718 362 268 98 2,012 8 2,020 68.64%
North Central Windward 4,582 633 1,725 115 582 - 3,055 19 3,074 67.09%
South Central Windward 3,569 658 1,006 226 383 - 2,273 10 2,283 63.97%
South Windward 3,475 611 1,391   305 - 2,307 32 2,339 67.31%
Marriaqua 3,527 229 1,807 12 135 - 2,183 18 2,201 62.40%
East St. George 4,350 416 1,962 15 237 - 2,630 22 2,652 60.97%
West St. George 4,815 322 1,608 510 419 - 2,859 26 2,885 59.92%
East Kingstown 4,425 478 1,369 81 468 - 2,396 34 2,430 54.92%
West Kingstown 4,404 514 1,586 - 379 - 2,479 24 2,503 56.83%
South Leeward 4,740 989 1,678 28 491 - 3,186 63 3,249 68.54%
Central Leeward 3,160 291 1,360 22 553 - 2,226 17 2,243 70.98%
North Leeward 4,253 1,448 1,384 15 247 - 3,094 16 3,110 73.12%
Grenadines 3,830 1,867 282 106 - - 2,255 32 2,287 59.71%
Total 52,073 9,022 17,876 1,492 4,467 98 32,955 321 33,276 63.90%
ELECTED MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
  Representative Party
North Windward   BALLANTYNE, P.R. Saint Vincent Labour Party
North Central Windward   BEACHE, Vincent Ian Saint Vincent Labour Party
South Central Windward   MORRIS, Offord D. Saint Vincent Labour Party
South Windward   DACON, Charles St Clair Saint Vincent Labour Party
Marriaqua   BROWNE, K.A. Saint Vincent Labour Party
East St. George   CATO, Robert Milton* Saint Vincent Labour Party
West St. George   WILLIAMS, Arthur Francis Saint Vincent Labour Party
East Kingstown   RUSSELL, Randolph Bertie Saint Vincent Labour Party
West Kingstown   TANNIS, Hudson Kemuel Saint Vincent Labour Party
South Leeward   ISAACS, Grafton Cephas Saint Vincent Labour Party
Central Leeward   WOODS, Arthur Theophilus Saint Vincent Labour Party
North Leeward   WILLIAMS, Calder B. New Democratic Party
Grenadines   COZIER, Cosmos E. New Democratic Party 
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Key
DRP= Democratic Republican Party; NDP = New Democratic Party; SVGP = St. Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party; ULP = Unity Labour Party; IND = Independent; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
The Electoral Office of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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