General elections were held in Belize on 4 September 1989 for all 28 seats in the House of Representatives using a first-past-the-post system.
The ruling United Democratic Party was finishing its first term and sought re-election on the basis of improved economic indicators and standard of living. The People's United Party painted them as lusting after foreign aid and recognition, particularly from the United States and Taiwan.
Another issue was national security; the PUP attacked a CIA-like operation known as the Secret Intelligence Service as being a spy network for the UDP and promised freedom of the press and other fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution.
Political Parties & Candidates
A total of 57 candidates contested the election. As in the past, primary contenders in the 1989 elections were the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP), led by incumbent Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel, and the People’s United Party (PUP), headed by former Prime Minister George Price.
During the electoral campaign, the labour-oriented PUP criticized conservative UDP’s free-market economic policies and the growing involvement of foreign interests in Belize’s economy. It also advocated a more liberal broadcasting policy.
Polling results gave the PUP a surprising victory (15 House seats to UDP’s 13), thus returning it to power after five years in opposition.
Voter turnout was 72.62%.
Price once again became head of the Government and promised a mixed (State planning and liberalism) economic system. His 14-member Cabinet was sworn in on 8 September.
On 8 September 1989, one UDP member joined the PUP instead, increasing its parliamentary representation to 16 seats.