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April 03, 2012

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larry smith

These comments were written in January 2011 - before the formation of the Democratic National Alliance. A recent poll has indicated that the DNA has core support of 16.5 per cent, with a further 5 per cent of voters leaning towards the DNA. This, combined with the fact that the DNA has managed to field candidates in all 38 constituencies is fairly significant. We will have to wait and see whether the DNA can actually break the two-party monopoly, which would be a momentous political event.

Victor

I consider the DNA to be DOA (Dead On Arrival). I do not think that they have the support of 16.5% and if an accurate poll reported that, I would be willing to bet that the support is extremely 'soft'. The closer the election comes and the more people see how thin the DNA's support is, the more they will be abandoned by these soft voters.
Bahamaians have shown over and over that they do not want a third party and there is little to distinguish the DNA from the FNM or PLP in terms of policy and direction. It's mostly about personalities and this is not enough to launch a new party. I am willing to bet that they will lose their deposit in every single seat.

June Henderson


Excellent article. Keep them coming. I am so sick of all the name calling and opinions.

larry smith

I don't think there is an unwritten law prohibiting a new party from establishing itself and taking office someday, but there has to be a popular groundswell based on political fundamentals. Just being fed up with "perry and hubert" is not enough, in my view.

I tend to agree that support for the DNA indicated by the opinion poll is likely to be soft, but you cannot deny that this has been the broadest and most concrete effort to create an alternative party since the NDP in 1965.

I don't count the musical chair period of the early days of the FNM/BDP/SDP, etc, which was purely artificial.

Victor

The problem for a third party is that most Bahamians are in the center of the political spectrum. The FNM and PLP are both centrist parties, though one leans a little to the right and the other a bit to the left, but they are not far apart the way the parties are in the UK or USA.

With the exception of the socialist Vanguard Party, all other 'third' parties have also tried to stake out ground in the center and there is just no room. But if they tried to run on a very left wing or right wing platform, they would also do poorly as there would not be broad support for such an ideological stance.

The DNA has no real reason to exist other than personal conflicts with the members and leader of the other parties. This was the same case with the CDR, BDM, PDF and all the way back to the NDP. As you say, that whole FNM-BDP-SDP thing was just one party that couldn't get it's act together.

Really, the Free PLP grafted itself on to the UBP, but it was the UBP voters who were the main supporters of the early FNM. The one by-election contested by the Free PLP, they came in a distant third behind the PLP and the UBP. And all of the former Free PLP MPs lost their seats in 1972 - it was the UBP strongholds that returned FNM members.

I consider that the FNM is really an evolved version of the UBP with a different name and without all the historical baggage.

I give the DNA a certain amount of credit for the level of organization that they have shown, but I do expect every single candidate to lose their deposit. I would be very surprised if the party survives to contest another election beyond this one.

People in Nassau have had the illusion that the DNA might pick up the South Abaco seat. Anyone who lives here knows better - their candidate is a good guy, but there is simply no path to victory for him as a DNA.

TISM

If the elections are based on issues, I find it difficult to support the DNA because the leader seems to waffle in favor of public opinion. I believe a leader should be intelligently advised on the vision, mission and objectives of his party and form his platform based on this advice. If there are issues presented that are not a part of his platform, his duty is to acknowledge its importance and refocus attention to his key issues until he has all the information needed to offer a substantive response.

There seems to be no political discipline or strategy in this party, just political pandering. I was eager to support the DNA in its inception, now I find myself back between the two popular choices.

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