People’s Progressive Party

Published 19th July, 2011

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic or PPP was formed in 1950 by Dr Cheddi Jagan, who became Leader, from an earlier anti-colonial organisation. At the time of its formation Forbes Burnham became Chairman and Janet Jagan was Secretary. It is a left wing party which gains much of its support from the ethnic Asian-Indian community.

The PPP won the first elections in 1953 and Jagan became First Minister. They won again in 1957 election with 48% of the vote and again in 1961 with 43%. In 1957 the party split along ethnic lines and Burnham broke away to form the People’s National Congress (PNC).

In 1964 the PPP took the largest share of the vote, 46%, under a newly British imposed proportional representation system, but the PNC with the support of another party took office. The PNC continued to win subsequent elections until 1992 but always with the PPP in second place.

In the 1992 election, the first considered by the international community to be free and fair, the PPP won and Cheddi Jagan became President. The PPP went on to win the 1992 election as the PPP/Civic, drawing in non political people from the Civic group, with 52.3% of the vote and 35 Assembly seats.

They won again in 1997 with 55.3% of the vote and 29 of the 53 Assembly seats, then again in 2001 with 53.1% and 34 seats in an enlarged Assembly of 65 seats and again in 2006 with 54% of the vote and 36 seats.

In 1997 the party founder Cheddi Jagan died whilst still president and was succeeded by his prime minister, Sam Hinds, who in turn stood aside to allow Janet Jagan to become president. Having won the 1997 election, Janet Jagan stood aside in 1999 on the grounds of ill health and was replaced by Bharrat Jagdeo who went on to win the 2001 and 2006 elections.

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