NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The margin of the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) general election victory and the split of the votes in several key seats were reminiscent of the Free National Movement’s (FNM) sweep in 2017.
Last Thursday, the PLP dealt crushing blows at the polls as the electorate largely traded out FNMs for PLPs.
Nearly 23,000 votes separated the FNM and PLP.
The PLP secured 67,781 votes and the FNM got 44,923 votes, a difference of 22,858 votes, according to the latest data gleaned from the Parliamentary Registration Department’s (PRD) election results.
It has 30 days to finalize official results.
The PLP got 53 percent of the vote, with the FNM getting 35 percent.
The Coalition of Independents (COI) captured over six percent.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) received 1,347 votes, just over one percent.
The remaining independent candidates collectively secured just over 2,553 votes, which accounts for around two percent of the votes.
In May 2017, nearly 32,000 votes separated the FNM and PLP.
The FNM secured 91,137 votes to the PLP’s 59,164 — a difference of 31,973 votes, winning in 35 of the 39 constituencies.
At the time, 159,910 of the 184,000 registered voters cast their ballot, representing an 87 percent voter turnout, in comparison to the 65 percent voter turnout (over 126,000 voted of the 194,000-plus registered voters) last week.
In the last general election, the FNM took all seats on New Providence with the exception of Englerston, in which PLP incumbent Glenys Hanna-Martin got 49 percent of the vote compared to the FNM’s Raymond Rolle, who got 45 percent.
This time around, the FNM held onto three seats on New Providence, including Killarney — a seat won by the former prime minister since 2007; St Anne’s; and St Barnabas, the only inner-city seat.
In 2017, the FNM also won all seats on Grand Bahama, the two seats on Eleuthera and Abaco, as well as one seat on Andros.
Last week, the PLP captured two seats on Grand Bahama, which has historically favored the FNM; the two seats on Eleuthera; both seats on Abaco; and the two seats on Andros.
On the campaign trail, then Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he would deliver three sets of twins in reference to Abaco, Andros and Eleuthera.
In Bain Town, the PLP’s Wayde Watson secured 1,835 votes compared to FNM incumbent Travis Robinson — a 63 percent to 26 percent split of the 2,899 votes in that constituency.
In 2017, Robinson got 61 percent of the vote compared to former Minister of National Security the late Bernard Nottage’s 35 percent of the 3,590 votes.
The PLP’s JoBeth Coleby-Davis won Elizabeth with 1,893 votes (48 percent), beating the FNM incumbent and former Cabinet minister Dr Duane Sands, who got 1,516 votes (39 percent) of the 3,870 votes in that constituency.
In 2017, Sands won the seat with 61 percent of the vote, compared to PLP incumbent Alex Storr, who got 30 percent
Another closely-watched seat that the PLP captured was Pineridge.
The incumbent for the seat, Frederick McAlpine, ran as an independent after failing to receive a nomination from the FNM, of which he was a member, although he was consistently critical of the government and Minnis throughout the term.
The PLP’s Ginger Moxey won with 1,423 votes (40 percent), compared to McAlpine’s 1,175 (33 percent) — the largest of the independent candidates.
The FNM’s candidate Welbourne Bootle got 886 votes (24 percent).
McAlpine won the seat with 2,496 votes or 53 percent in 2017, besting former Minister of State for Grand Bahama Michael Darville, who got 2,025 votes or 43 percent.
In addition to McAlpine, independents and third-party votes were boosted by Cay Mills, the COI candidate for North Abaco who received 719 votes; COI Leader Lincoln Bain in Pinewood with 641 votes; and DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe with 210 votes in Carmichael.
While the FNM’s Desmond Bannister won 61 percent of the Carmichael seat in 2017, besting the then incumbent Keith Bell, who got 32 percent of the vote, the victory gap was slimmer last week.
Bell secured 1,922 votes in comparison to Bannister’s 1,603 — a 48 percent/40 percent split of the 3,939 votes.
In the last election, the sitting prime minister, Perry Christie, lost his seat for the first time to the FNM’s Reece Chipman.
Just over 10,000 votes separated the PLP from the FNM in the 2012 election — 29 seats to the FNM’s 10.
The FNM secured 65,518 votes (42 percent) and the PLP secured 75,806 votes (48.6 percent).
The FNM lost the North Abaco seat to the PLP in the October 2012 by-election.
In 2007, just under 4,000 votes separated the FNM from the PLP, which resulted in the FNM winning 23 of the 41 seats.
The PLP won 18 seats at that time.