Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party

Last updated

Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party
Leader Gaston Browne
Founder V.C. Bird
Founded18 May 1946
Ideology Social democracy
Republicanism [1]
Political position Centre-left
Seats in the House of Representatives
9 / 17
Seats in the Barbuda Council
2 / 11

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is a political party in Antigua and Barbuda. The current leader of the party is Gaston Browne, who serves as the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. The party had previously been led by Lester Bird, who was chairman of the party since 1971, and became Prime Minister and political leader in 1994.



The party was founded in 1946, during the first national elections, as the Antigua Labour Party (ALP). Its founders included Vere Bird, father of Lester. The ABLP later came to be seen as a political arm of the Bird family. With the exception of five years in the 1970s, the ABLP ruled Antigua and Barbuda for over four decades leading up to 2004. It was in the opposition from 2004 to 2014, and then returned to power in the 2014 general election.

2004 defeat

Two major events precipitated the ABLP's first defeat in 28 years in the 2004 elections. First, an Electoral Commission was introduced after the 1999 election. According to international observers, the 1999 election was rife with irregularities. The report from an observer group from across the Commonwealth concluded that "voting rolls appeared to be inflated" and recommended "the establishment of an independent electoral commission to improve the voter registration process." [2] Second, in 2002 there was a scandal over medical benefits, in which the government failed to contribute EC$120 million to cover recipients' medical expenses. [3]

The opposition United Progressive Party campaigned on an anti-corruption platform they called "Government in the Sunshine." The ABLP lost its majority in the general election held on 24 March 2004. It received 41.8% of the popular vote, but won only four out of 17 seats. ABLP Prime Minister and political leader Bird was also defeated in his constituency.

Leadership crisis and transition

In early 2009, the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party faced an internal leadership crisis. There was speculation that even if the ABLP won the 2009 election, Bird's leadership would be challenged. [4] He announced that, if the ABLP failed to win the forthcoming 2009 general election, he would step down. [5] Nevertheless, despite not winning, he remained the ABLP's leader [6] until 2012, when he was defeated by Gaston Browne in a leadership challenge.

2014 elections and return to government

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party won 14 of the 17 seats in the Legislature in the 2014 general elections, forming a majority government with Browne as Prime Minister. They won 15 seats in the 2018 general elections and thereby retained power.

Electoral results

House of Representatives

ElectionParty leaderVotes %Seats+/–PositionGovernment
1951 Vere Bird 4,18287.4
8 / 8
1956 5,50986.7
8 / 8
Steady2.svg 0Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1960 2,12885.0
10 / 10
Increase2.svg 2Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1965 7,27578.9
10 / 10
Steady2.svg 0Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1971 6,40937.9
4 / 17
Decrease2.svg 6Decrease2.svg 2ndOpposition
1976 12,05649.0
11 / 17
Increase2.svg 7Increase2.svg 1stMajority
1980 12,79458.0
13 / 17
Increase2.svg 2Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1984 12,97267.9
16 / 17
Increase2.svg 3Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1989 14,20763.9
15 / 17
Decrease2.svg 1Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1994 Lester Bird 14,76354.4
11 / 17
Decrease2.svg 4Steady2.svg 1stMajority
1999 17,52152.6
12 / 17
Increase2.svg 1Steady2.svg 1stMajority
2004 16,53441.9
4 / 17
Decrease2.svg 8Decrease2.svg 2ndOpposition
2009 19,65746.9
7 / 17
Increase2.svg 3Decrease2.svg 2ndOpposition
2014 Gaston Browne 24,21256.5
14 / 17
Increase2.svg 7Increase2.svg 1stMajority
2018 23,06359.24
15 / 17
Increase2.svg 1Steady2.svg 1stMajority
2023 20,05247.1
9 / 17
Decrease2.svg 6Steady2.svg 1stMajority

Barbuda Council

1976 Vere Bird
1979 [7] [8] BPM
1981 BPM
1983 BPM
1985 BPM
1987 BPM
1989 BPM
1991/1992 BPM
1993/1994 BPM
1996 [8] Lester Bird [8] Increase2.svg1stMajority
1997 BPM
1999 BPM
2001 BPM
2003 BPM
2005 [9] BPM
2007 [10] [11] 2nd BPM
2009 [12] [13] [8] BPM
20111,680 [14] 48.81 [14] [13] [8] 2nd BPM
2013 Gaston Browne 2,295 [15] 53.51
6 / 11
[15] [13]
8 / 11
20172,791 [17] 48.34
6 / 11
2 / 11
Decrease2.svg4Decrease2.svg2nd BPM
2021 1,319 [19] [20] [21] 36.19
2 / 11
Steady2.svg2Steady2.svg2nd BPM

See also

Related Research Articles

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  2. "US State Department Human Rights Report", 23 February 2000
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