2011 Jamaican general election

The 2011 Jamaican general election was held on 29 December 2011 in Jamaica. The election was contested mainly between the nation's two major political parties, the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), led by Andrew Holness, and the Portia Simpson-Miller-led opposition People's National Party (PNP). The result was a landslide victory for the PNP which won 42 of the 63 seats, a two-thirds majority.[1]

2011 Jamaican general election

29 December 2011 (2011-12-29)

All 63 seats in the Jamaica House of Representatives
32 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Portia Simpson-Miller Andrew Holness
Leader since 26 February 2006 23 October 2011
Leader's seat Saint Andrew South Western Saint Andrew West Central
Last election 28 seats, 49.6% 32 seats, 50.3%
Seats before 28 32
Seats won 42 21
Seat change 14 11
Popular vote 463,232 405,234
Percentage 52.96% 46.32%
Swing 3.7% 3.7%

Map of result by constituency. Colours denote the winning party, shades indicate the plurality of votes in each constituency. All constituencies are numbered, with labels at the bottom.

Prime Minister before election

Andrew Holness

Subsequent Prime Minister

Portia Simpson-Miller


Since the last election in 2007, the number of seats was increased from 60 (an even number) to 63 (an odd number). The close results of the 2007 general election spurred the change as the Electoral Commission concluded that a tie would not be resolved.[2]

Opinion polls

Opinion polls indicated a slim lead for the opposition PNP six days before the election.[3][4] The win by the PNP shocked even its leaders, such as Peter Phillips who said that "the results certainly exceeded our most optimistic scenarios".[5][6] Despite the intentions of the opinion polls to give a fair idea of the directions of the election results, reports from the Electoral Office of Jamaica indicates that only just over 50 per cent of the entire voting population voted on Election Day 2011. This low voter turnout may have thrown off the prediction of opinion polls to some extent.


The People's National Party (PNP) secured 42 seats to 21 for the Jamaica Labour Party, in a result described as a landslide victory.[5] None of the minor parties won seats in the new Parliament. As a result the PNP ended four years of rule for the Labour Party.[5] Several Labour Party cabinet ministers lost their seats including National Security Minister Dwight Nelson and Energy Minister Clive Mullings.[5]

As a result, Portia Simpson-Miller assumed the role of Prime Minister for the second time in 5 years and Andrew Holness became one of the shortest-serving Prime Ministers in the history of Jamaica.[7] Some analysts have suggested that Simpson-Miller intends to establish Jamaica as a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.[8]

Polling was reported to have proceeded fairly smoothly, despite glitches with fingerprint scanners at some polling stations, and without the violence that has marred previous elections.[9] The Organization of American States sent an observation mission to oversee the elections and they reported that they had not witnessed "any disturbances or any issues that would cause us any serious concern".[9]

 Summary of the 29 December 2011 Jamaican House of Representatives election results
Parties Votes % +/– Seats +/–
People's National Party 464.064 52.96 +3.7 42 +14
Jamaica Labour Party 405,920 46.32 –3.7 21 –11
Marcus Garvey People's Progressive Party 420 0.05 0 ±0
National Democratic Movement 263 0.03 0 ±0
Independents 228 0.03 0 ±0
Jamaica Alliance Movement 57 0.01 0 ±0
Invalid/blank votes
Total (turnout 53.17%) 876,310 100   63 +3
Source: Electoral Commission of Jamaica


  1. "BLOWOUT: PNP 41 - JLP 22". jamaica-gleaner.com.
  2. An odd number of votes ensures that a decision is made, no tie is possible.
  3. "PNP comeback". Jamaica Gleaner. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  4. Saturday 31 December 2011 (21 December 2011). "News | Investigative | Current Affair | CVM Television". News.cvmtv.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  5. "Dominating victory in Jamaica elections even surprises winning opposition side". Washington Post. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  6. "Jamaica Election Results". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  7. Helps, Horace. "Bad economy puts Jamaica opposition back in power". Reuters. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  8. "Jamaica plans to become a republic". Sky News Australia. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  9. "Jamaica People's National Party secures big poll win". BBC News. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
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