The current political atmosphere in The Bahamas is febrile, due to the ongoing rigorous debates and squabbling between the political talking heads of the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Meanwhile, few pundits took notice when Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Chris Mortimer announced to The Nassau Guardian that he will not be contesting that position in the party’s upcoming March convention. DNA Deputy Leader Arinthia Komolafe is the presumptive successor, I think.
In October 2017, then DNA Leader Branville McCartney resigned as party leader, approximately seven months after his party’s disappointing performance in the May 10 general election. The DNA got just 7,537 votes, which was over 5,460 votes less than it had garnered in the 2012 general election. Similar to what the Green Party’s Ralph Nader did to the Democratic Party’s Al Gore in the United States presidential election in 2000, insuring the Republican’s George W. Bush ascent to the White House, McCartney’s DNA insured a PLP victory over Hubert Ingraham and the FNM in 2012.
The crushing defeat of the FNM led to the subsequent retirement of Ingraham from active politics. After being appointed as leader of opposition business in the Senate by then Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner in December 2016, McCartney issued a warning to FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis about the possibility of the FNM being demoted to third-party status. McCartney’s posture at that time underscored his unwavering confidence in the DNA’s ability to have a massive influence on the outcome of the 2017 general election, amid talks of a possible merger with the Butler-Turner faction of the FNM.
No one, except God, saw the shocking results that would come a little over four months after McCartney’s hubristic pronouncement. Come March, the DNA will be undergoing its third leadership change in a little over 22 months. Its poor performance at the polls in 2017 reinforces the viewpoint that The Bahamas is a two-party state.
I am not gloating over the unfortunate mishaps of the DNA over the last 21 months, considering the fact that so many DNA supporters were riding on a wave of confidence in the lead-up to the 2017 general election. With the announcement of Mortimer, and the October 2017 resignation of McCartney, the DNA is currently experiencing a steady decline. This means that its end is imminent. If the party contests the 2022 general election, that would in all likelihood be its final election. I believe the party will dissolve immediately following that election, if not before. In all things considered, I believe that the DNA’s steady decline is one of the more under-reported developments in The Bahamas.
– Kevin Evans
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