Jamaica Labour Party

Published 11th March, 2011

The Jamaica Labour Party or JLP was founded on 8th July 1943 by Alexander Bustamante as the political wing of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union. The party, despite its name, describes itself as a centre-right conservative party which believes in conservatism and fiscal conservatism.

The JLP has a long history of electoral success. It won two elections in a row between 1944 and 1949. It won again in 1962 when it steered the country to independence and again in 1967.

Electoral success came in the general elections of 1980 and 1983. In the latter case it took all 60 seats in the House of Representatives, but largely because its long time and only serious rival, the People’s National Party (PNP), boycotted the election.

The JLP then went through a bad patch where it lost four elections in a row, in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2002. Its worst result ever was in 1993 when it was reduced to just eight of sixty seats, but from there it has slowly climbed back up into contention. It finally broke through once more when it won the 2007 election, taking 32 of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives.

In 2005 Bruce Golding became the party leader and in 2007 became the new prime minister; he stood down in the summer of 2011 and was replaced by Andrew Holness on 23rd October 2011. One of Holness’ first acts was to call a general election for 29th December 2011.

The Jamaica Labour Party is a member of the International Democrat Union and the Caribbean Democrat Union.

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