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Joined: Oct 1999
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Both major parties held pre-election rallies in multiple constituencies over the weekend.

But the PUP's big one was in Belize City at the Pound Yard bridge. Like the UDP a few weeks ago, it was a national event - with candidates from all across the country coming to the city to participate - and bussing in their supporters.

The event drew a good crowd - filling up a portion of Cemetery Road. For a national event, It wasn't quite on the par of PUP events we've seen in the party's heyday - but it was enough to pump up Party Leader Francis Fonseca.

The PUP also had pre-election rallies in Independence, Benque Viejo and Sandhill.

Numbers vary widely on the PUP's city event: our estimates put it at a maximum of two thousand - while the party says it had at least eight thousand people out there.

And the UDP is claiming similar numbers for a pre-election rally at the barracks in Orange Walk which was held yesterday evening.

The UDP held major multi-divisional rallies in Corozal and Orange Walk Towns - and report strong turnout at both events. According to reliable estimates, the crowd in Orange Walk was in the range of five thousand.

Channel 7

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Editorial, The Reporter

Election Day 2012 looks like it's going to be a game-changing experience for candidates who won or lost by 50 votes or less the last time around.

There are only two of these, and the candidate who appears to be the most vulnerable is the candidate for the Freetown Division. On March 2, 2008 Mr. Francis Fonseca received 1369 votes. His adversary, Mr. Michael Peyrefitte, received 1353.

In a constituency of that size 16 votes are considered a slim lead. In 2008 the electoral register for Freetown numbered 3681. This year the voters in Freetown are 4,230 strong. Even so, Mr. Fonseca has his work cut out in view of the fact that he is facing a formidable opponent, Mr. Lee Mark, who has a strong, well-lubricated election machine working for him. .

In Corozal North Mr. Florencio Marin Jr. is facing a similar predicament. He won by a margin of 16 votes over his adversary, Servando Samos. Unlike Freetown in Belize City, which has grown faster than most other constituencies in the country, Corozal North Constituency has not grown by much. The candidates are the same and the constituency is the same. It's going to be crunch-time for Mr. Marin!

There are two other areas of Belize City that hang in the balance. In 2008 Mr. Cordel Hyde won his seat, competing against Mr. Vandley Jenkins, by 379 votes in the Lake Independence Division. This time around Mr. Hyde is not competing, and the UDP candidate, Mr. Mark King, has mounted an energetic campaign.

His opponent, Mr. Martin Galvez, has entered the race as a last-minute substitute, and is not expected to do well. To add to his troubles, Mr. Carlos Diaz, a former Minister under the PUP, has put forward his candidacy as an independent.

It is widely believed that PUP mainstream voters will not be able to carry the day for Mr. Galvez, especially with independent Carlos Diaz shaving votes from his support base.

The other area of concern for the PUP has to be the Albert Division. Mr. Mark Espat has been elected and re-elected for three terms following the retirement and death of Mr. Philip Goldson. In 2008 he won by 636 votes. .

Under normal circumstances 636 votes would be regarded as too big a margin for the UDP candidate, Mr. Herman Longsworth, to overcome. But there can be no doubt in anybody's mind that the PUP has lost ground in the Albert. Mr. Espat's replacement is Mr. David Craig, a candidate with good credentials but no experience and no time for launching an effective campaign.

It may not be immediately apparent, but there is a lot of frustration among PUP voters in the Albert, and the reality is that Mr. Espat has dealt a crippling blow to PUP's prospects there. Miracles still happen however, and the PUP will need one to secure the Albert. .

Elsewhere there has been no upheaval on the political landscape to justify expectations for change in the status quo. Mr. Elrington in Pickstock with a 332 vote lead (2008) and Mr. Said Musa in Fort George with a 358 vote lead cannot be easily removed from their land-locked constituencies.

The difference between the two is that Mr. Elrington has been able to grow his support base, especially with the outstanding work of his Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence, whereas Mr. Musa appears to have lost ground.

In the end Mr. Musa may be able to hold on by a much narrower margin, but it should surprise no one if he loses his seat.

The Reporter

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Countrywide Countdown to Elections 2012

Registered voters countrywide will go to the polls on March 7th in a double election; General and Municipal. In some electoral divisions, like Belize Rural South (BRS), some electorates will go to the polls for the General Election only. Such is the case with the electorates of Caye Caulker and Caye Chapel with a total of 811 registered voters, combined. Ambergris Caye electorates, which is 6,289, will vote twice, once in the General and once in the Municipal elections. Combined, all three polling areas in BRS have 7,100 registered voters.

Speaking with all the candidates during a meeting on Friday, February 24th, the General Election Returning Officer for BRS Allan Genitty indicated that he expects that the election process will be peaceful. Genitty explained that all political parties and candidates are expected to conduct themselves in a civil manner and abide by the rules agreed upon.

No political booth or political banners/signs will be allowed within the 100-yard buffer area. In San Pedro, polling area 37 will be at the San Pedro High School. The 100-yard area extends around the circumference of the high school's property. The buffer area includes the section of Spider Lily street that runs from the beach to the junction of Laguna Drive (all the section in front of the high school entrance). The 100-yard buffer area extends from the entrance of the school grounds midway down on Seagull Street.

Electors will cast their vote first for the General Election then proceed to vote in the Municipal Election. For the General Election, electors can only vote for one of four candidates that will appear on the ballot in alphabetical order. Once an elector votes for more than one person, that ballot will be considered a spoiled vote. In the case of Municipal Elections, the names of the three mayoral candidates will appear and 14 councilor candidates. The names of all seven members of the incumbent United Democratic Party team will appear first followed by the names of all seven candidates of the People's United Party. Last on the ballot will be the names of all independent candidates. Electors should vote for one of any of the three mayoral candidates and any six of the 14 councilor candidates. The ballot is deemed spoiled if an elector votes for more than one mayoral candidates or more than six councilor candidates.

According to Genitty, to make the election process easier, electorates are encouraged to bring along their Voter's Registration Card (ID) on Election Day or any other form of picture identification card. At Polling Area 37, there will be nine polling station divided into alphabetical blocks clearly labeled as A-B, C, D-F, G, H-L, M-N, O-Q, R-S and T-Z. The letters corresponds to the first letter of the elector's surname and indicates which line he/she should take to cast their vote.

Once inside the polling station, you will be required to present an ID or any form of picture identification. Where an elector does not have a picture ID, his/her name will be searched in the Elections and Boundaries Department Voter's Binders to verify the identity of the person. Once the identity of the elector is established, his/her name will be called out loud. The person will then dip his/her index finger of his right hand into violet color ink. The person will then be issued with a ballot that has the signature of the Presiding Officer. He/She will then proceed to the booth and cast their vote and fold the ballot paper. The elector then holds up the folded ballot paper for the election's clerk to show the signature of the Presiding Officer after which the completed ballot is placed into a ballot box. The elector then proceeds to vote in the Municipal Election where the same process is repeated. The only difference in the procedure is that electors will dip their middle finger of his/her right hand in a rose colored ink. After the elector casts their vote, they then proceed to exit the polling station. Electors are not obligated to vote in both General and Municipal elections.

Electors should not place any distinguishing marks on the ballot that can identify an elector or else the ballot paper will be considered spoiled. If an elector cannot vote for him/herself, the Returning Officer will allow a family member to accompany the elector to assist him/her in casting their vote.

Polls country wide will open at 6AM and voting starts 7AM. The polls close at 6PM at which point a police officer will stand behind the last person in line. Belizeans are encouraged to exercise their democratic voting rights for the person they feel can best address the issues in their community.

The San Pedro Sun has partnered with Channel 7 News and Krem Radio in a comprehensive countrywide coverage of the Election Day process. For live updates of the election process and results on Election Day, you can visit The San Pedro Sun website at

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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