September 20, 2021
MARCO City MP-elect Michael Pintard is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Dr Hubert Minnis as leader of the Free National Movement, party insiders have told The Tribune.
However, St Barnabas MP-elect Shanendon Cartwright, East Grand Bahama MP-elect Kwasi Thompson and former Elizabeth MP Dr Duane Sands are also considered possible contenders, according to FNM insiders who will be involved in a series of meetings this week as the party grapples with its worst electoral defeat since 1977.
Although former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has said he will lead the FNM in opposition, few in the party expect he will remain leader for the long-term or that he would be allowed to do so, though it is anticipated that he may stay on long enough to appoint four senators.
Former Prime Minister Perry Christie led the Progressive Liberal Party to victory in 2012 after the party lost the 2007 election under his leadership, but FNM insiders do not expect Dr Minnis will be allowed to do the same.
The FNM originally planned to have a convention in November of this year; sources expect this timeline to be finalised by the end of this week. The party may even discuss calling a special convention to settle the leadership issue. Among the meetings scheduled in the coming days are one today with Dr Minnis involving the candidates who participated in the election, an executive board meeting tomorrow and a council meeting on Wednesday. A clearer picture of where the party goes from here is expected to emerge after the meetings take place.
Despite weathering the crisis of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, the FNM won only seven seats in last Thursday’s general election: Killarney, St Anne’s, Long Island, Marco City, East Grand Bahama, Central Grand Bahama and St Barnabas. The last time the party fared so poorly was 1977 when it won only two seats.
According to FNM insiders, people in the party largely blame the lopsided result on Dr Minnis’ risky decision to call an early election despite the fact that Bahamians have given decisive victories to opposition parties in three consecutive elections, all of which were held amid high unemployment rates and a stagnant if not struggling economy. The last time the country had a close election was 2007 when the unemployment rate stood at five percent.
Yesterday, at least one former Cabinet minister, speaking anonymously to discuss sensitive matters, rejected the view that the timing of the election cost the party.
“Incumbents lose elections in this country, whether today or in May or whenever, you lose,” he said.
Some FNMs yesterday griped that the party was less prepared for the early election than the PLP, which they believe anticipated Dr Minnis’ early election call and ran a disciplined campaign.
FNMs even suspect the party’s base of supporters turned out in fewer numbers than PLP supporters did for their party in 2017.
“We couldn’t galvanise our base,” one insider, who spoke anonymously to discuss internal affairs, said yesterday.
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News date : 09/20/2021
Category : Politics, Tribune Stories