By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
TO succeed in the next general election, the new Free National Movement government must embrace humility and not become giddy with its recent landslide win, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday.
The former FNM leader also warned that the Minnis administration should not try and find jobs for every member of Parliament who got elected.
“The people will get tired of that too,” he said.
Bahamians have spent much of the last 25 years voting against governing parties rather than in support of opposition parties, Mr Ingraham said.
“Twenty years ago, the FNM won about 55 per cent of the vote. The PLP were left with five seats thereabout in the House (of Assembly) and by the following election the FNM was wiped out, the PLP came back in,” he said, in response to questions during an appearance at a Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau meeting.
“The FNM won this time by a huge majority. Political parties, when they win elections, especially with huge margins, tend to get giddy, it goes to their head. They are unable to satisfy the aspirations of many of their members where everybody wants to be a big shot, everybody thinks he won the election because of himself and the truth is they didn’t win because of themselves. They won because of the party and because the government got voted out, not because the individual was such a good candidate that people say, ‘I love him I’ll vote for him.’”
Mr Ingraham said large majorities are more of a burden than a blessing.
“It is difficult to manage huge majorities and if political parties had a choice to make they wouldn’t want a huge majority,” he said. “I think one of the contributing factors to the FNM’s loss in 2002 was it had won a huge majority in 1997. It ended that with arguments as to who will become the next prime minister; it wasn’t a question about whether you (are going to) lose the next election . . . so (there was) a big fight over (leadership) and fights over other things and by that time the public said, ‘well, the hell with all of y’all.’
“If I had one word to say to the FNM as a new administration, is they have to be on their guard to ensure that the public accepts that they are going to remain humble, they are going to seek to do the things they said they would do or as many of the things they can do, and be focused and not to seek to provide a job for everyone who got elected.”
Mr Ingraham referred an article published in The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday, which noted more than half of those who voted for the FNM on May 10 did so not because of the party’s message, but because voters were fed up with the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
The information came from a poll produced by the firm Public Domain.
“That’s a usual event,” Mr Ingraham said. “The only time in the last 25 yeas in my view that the people voted for a government was in 1997. In 1992 when we won the election for the first time they voted against the PLP. In 2002, they voted against the FNM. In 2007, they voted against the PLP. In 2012, they voted against the FNM and specifically against Hubert Ingraham I suppose and in 2017 they voted against the PLP.
“Populations after they’ve voted are sometimes very happy with what they decided and sometimes they have remorse immediately. I think the fact that I’m accepted by the society a lot means they had a lot of remorse for firing me.”
The FNM won 35 out of 39 seats in the House of Assembly in May.
Mr Ingraham led the FNM into four elections before retiring as party leader and North Abaco MP after the FNM’s defeat in 2012. He served as prime minister from 1992-2002 and 2007-2012.