By Don Burgess
HAMILTON, Bermuda (Reuters) - Bermuda's ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) won a landslide re-election on Thursday, taking all but six of 36 available seats for the largest majority in the island's history, results published late in the night showed.
Increasing its number of seats by five, the PLP ran a campaign focused on the management of the coronavirus crisis by Premier David Burt, whose popularity was a boon to the center-left party, according to at least one recent opinion poll.
The PLP won 62.1% of the vote compared with 32.2% for the center-right One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), with the libertarian-leaning Free Democratic Movement (FDM) placing third in the election with 5.3%.
The government is eager to focus on making up the losses to Bermuda's economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Burt said this week that was unlikely to happen until 2023.
Last month, the Fairmont Southampton Resort, Bermuda's biggest private sector employer, said it was making over 700 people – about 2% of the country's workforce - redundant due to renovations.
Participation in the election was low, with just 55% of the electorate turning out compared with 73% in 2017.
The OBA's seats went from 11 to six, with deputy leader Leah Scott losing hers. The party failed to run a full slate of candidates for the first time in its history, fielding only 31.
It was also the first election run by the FDM, which was founded ahead of the election by Marc Bean, a former PLP leader. The FDM contested just 14 constituencies and failed to secure a seat, though Bean won 25.3% of the vote in his.
(Reporting by Don Burgess; Editing by Paul Simao and Steve Orlofsky)