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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Bahamas

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The Free National Movement is a socially liberal and economically conservative political party in The Bahamas. It is currently the ruling party, winning 23 of the 41 seats in the Bahamas House of Assembly on May 2, 2007; two of these seats are currently being contested in Electorial Court by the opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) led by Perry Christie.

The FNM, led by the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, won 49.86 percent of the vote compared with 47.02 percent by the Progressive Liberal Party. In 2002, the FNM won only 41.1 percent of the vote when it was led by Tommy Turnquest. Mr. Ingraham is now the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The FNM was formed in 1971 by a union of the so-called "Free-PLP" and the United Bahamian Party. The Free-PLP were a breakaway group of eight MPs from the then governing Progressive Liberal Party. This group, which was known as the "Dissident Eight," led by the popular Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, was on the center-right of the PLP and unhappy with what it saw as creeping dictatorial tendencies within the PLP Government.

The other group, the UBP, was one of the main political parties in the Bahamas and had governed the country since the advent of party politics in 1958, until it lost the 1967 general election by a paper thin margin to the Opposition PLP.

The UBP party's leadership was almost all white in a country where blacks made up 85 percent of the population. Once out of power its leaders decided that the party's time was at an end and they looked to the Free-PLP to form a new party that would follow a socially liberal and economically conservative line. The new party was called the Free National Movement.

The party grew quickly and built a strong and loyal base. However, these were heady days for the governing PLP, who led the country to independence in 1973, and the FNM failed to gain much more than 40% of the vote in a string of general elections defeats.

In 1990, Hubert Ingraham took over the leadership of the party after the death of Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield. The FNM attacked the governing PLP on corruption charges and published a Manifesto.

In the General Election of 1992, the FNM defeated its rival, the PLP, by a wide margin, taking 32 of the then 49 seats. The FNM Government privatized the government-owned hotels, which had fallen into decline since nationalization. Private radio stations were allowed to operate, ending the government's broadcast monopoly. The FNM also introduced local government and encouraged inward investment to grow the economy. The elections of 1997 saw the FNM re-elected in a landslide, with 35 of the 40 seats in a reduced House.

However, the party lost the 2002 elections, under corruption charges and amidst debates regarding domestic and international policies.

In the general election, the Free National Movement emerged victorious with a total of 23 of the 41 seats and formed a new government, with Ingraham as Prime Minister again.

External links

  • Free National Movement,Commmonly called FNM


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