Outgoing Prime Minister Perry Christie pictured speaking at a PLP rally this week.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
IN a surprising and humbling defeat at the polls, outgoing Prime Minister Perry Christie lost his seat in the Centreville constituency last night by 25 votes after representing the area for more than 40 years, according to unofficial results.
Mr Christie has held the seat since 1977 and has been leader of the Progressive Liberal Party since 1997.
The former Prime Minister lost his seat to Free National Movement (FNM) candidate and political newcomer Reece Chipman, who secured the win with 1,900 votes to Mr Christie’s 1,875.
According to the unofficial results from the Parliamentary Registration Department, Mr Chipman won seven out of 12 polling divisions in the former PLP stronghold, while Mr Christie won five.
In 2012, Mr Christie won the Centreville constituency for the eighth consecutive time with 2,950 votes. He defeated the FNM’s candidate Ella Lewis by 1,349 votes at the time. Mr Christie won all but one polling division in 2012.
Although he released a statement about the loss, Mr Christie did not speak publicly or address the small crowd of sombre supporters that gathered at PLP headquarters last night expecting a victory.
In his statement after conceding defeat to Prime Minister-elect Dr Hubert Minnis, Mr Christie said it was an honour and privilege “to serve as Prime Minister of this great nation.”
He made no mention of losing Centreville in the short statement.
“I called Dr Minnis earlier this evening to congratulate him on his party’s victory. I understand as perhaps few others the challenges that await Dr Minnis, and I wish him only success on behalf of our nation. He has my full support for a smooth transition,” the statement said.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as the Prime Minister of this great nation. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Bahamian people for that opportunity. To those who served alongside me, I thank them for their dedication to our shared ideals. May God bless us all, and may God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”
On nomination day last month, Mr Christie told reporters that would be his last time running as a candidate for Centreville.
Mr Christie entered front line politics in 1974 as one of the youngest senators ever appointed at the age of 31. He joined the House of Assembly after the 1977 general election as the member for Centreville and went on to win his seat eight consecutive times, including the 1987 general election when he contested the seat as an independent candidate.