Disappointment for the independents
Yesterdays general election had 15 independent candidates — the highest number since the advent of party politics 50 years ago.
However, the poll led to disappointment for all of them, including former United Bermuda Party members Kim and Charlie Swan.
Only four of the independents won more than five percent of the vote in their constituency.
The most successful was Kim Swan, the former leader of the UBP, who stood as an independent after that party collapsed. He won 23 percent of the vote in St Georges West but was soundly beaten by Nandi Davis of the One Bermuda Alliance, who won 39 percent of the vote and Renee Anderson-Ming of the Progressive Labour Party with 38 percent.
Other relatively successful candidates were former PLP member and Attorney General Phil Perinchief, who scored ten percent of the vote in Pembroke West Central.
Mr Swans fellow former United Bermuda Party colleague Charles Swan won nine percent of the vote in Southampton West Central, and Cornell Fubler of the new group Restore Bermuda won six percent in St Georges North.
Behind them were David Tavares in Smiths South and Tillman Darrell in Pembroke South East, both of whom scored five percent.
The rest of the candidates gained a smaller percentage of the votes.
There had been much pre-election speculation that wins by key independents — such as Kim and Charlie Swan — could cost the One Bermuda Alliance seats and hold the key to a balance of power if the two parties were neck and neck in the poll.
While that turned out not to be the case, the independent candidates still cited the key role they believe they played in yesterdays political race.
Mr Fubler said that during his campaigning, he found that my message for change has had an overwhelming welcome." Speaking ahead of the result, he was not sure that his campaign would translate to votes, but said that even if he lost, Restore Bermuda would continue its efforts for reform.
He said: I believe folks have become tired of the rhetoric and the empty promises. They've become tired of someone saying they are 'this' when the reality is they're not. I, too, am tired of the polarisation and rhetoric and that's why I decided to put myself forward.
"I realised that, if I had to go to the polls, I couldn't ever vote for either of the two main parties. And as I dug deeper and thought about it more, I realised that there are many people out there who were facing the exact same predicament.
LeYoni Junos, who scored less than one percent of the vote in Pembroke South East, feels independents should continue to fight for a voice in the political process.
She believes it is time for Bermuda to have more MPs who can truly speak their minds and not be bound by party politics. However, she complained that people feel scared to vote independent due to pressure from those who say it is a wasted vote — such as the editor of this newspaper who wrote such an opinion column last week.
If people are fearful to vote, that their vote is going to be wasted, thats what will hold them back, she said.
"We need a new political currency. I see the two parties as just being opposite sides of the same coin. Their MPs are under a party whip and cannot speak their conscience.
Ms Junos said of her defeat: To me, its indicative of the party system. If I had been the PLP candidate, I would have been victorious because people vote along party lines.
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