1989 Jamaican general election
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All 60 seats in the
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This was the first election contested by the People's National Party since 1980, as they had boycotted the
The election date and tone of the election were shaped in part by
The election was characterized by a narrower ideological difference between the two parties on economic issues. Michael Manley facilitated his comeback campaign by moderating his leftist positions and admitting mistakes made as Prime Minister, saying he erred when he involved government in economic production and had abandoned all thoughts of nationalizing industry. He cited the PNP's desire to continue the market-oriented policies of the JLP government, but with a more participatory approach. Prime Minister Edward Seaga ran on his record of economic growth and the reduction of unemployment in Jamaica, using the campaign slogan "Don't Let Them Wreck It Again" to refer to Manley's tenure as Prime Minister. Seaga during his tenure as Prime Minister emphasized the need to tighten public sector spending and cut close to 27,000 public sector jobs in 1983 and 1984. He shifted his plans as elections neared with a promise to spend J$1 billion on a five-year Social Well-Being Programme, which would build new hospitals and schools in Jamaica.
Foreign policy also played a role in the 1989 election. Prime Minister Edward Seaga emphasized his relations with the United States, a relationship which saw Jamaica receiving considerable economic aid from the U.S and additional loans from international institutions. Manley pledged better relations with the United States while at the same time pledging to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba that had been cut under Seaga. With Manley as Prime Minister,
The personalities of the two party leaders helped shape the 1989 campaign. While Seaga was portrayed as a good manager with a cold public demeanor, Manley was perceived as a person with suspect managerial skills but exceptional personal magnetism. Seaga summarized the two personalities by saying, "Some people prefer to have a husband who will provide for them and give them security. Others are looking for a lover to give them joy."