Trinidad readies for General Election

Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Associated Press / Anthony Harris

The campaign for the Sept. 7, 2015 General Election in Trinidad and Tobago kicked off last week.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 63, announced the date in a statement at the House of Representatives, Port of Spain that she would advise President Anthony Carmona “to dissolve parliament at midnight on June 17, 2015 — a move which will bring to an end the tenth parliament and clear the way for the eleventh.”

She said her government was the first under the Republican Constitution to serve its full term.

Persad-Bissessar said it did so despite the expectations of the opposition.

The prime minister said the Partnership Government is ready to return to the voters of Trinidad and Tobago.

Of the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) Persad-Bissesar said: “They told the electorate in 2010, 2011, 2012, in every year that we would not last more than a few weeks in government, then that became a few months. Then it became a year and after that they continued to call for early elections on a regular basis because their political strategy to remove their leader in 2010 and seek to come to power because they expected us to collapse early failed to materialize.”

The election date came as the United National Congress (UNC) announced the close of nominations for persons seeking to be screened by the party to contest seats, with a deadline date of June 26, 2015.

Four political parties are expected to contest the General Election — UNC, PNM, Congress of the People (COP) and the Independent Labor Party (ILP).

The PNM has already announced candidates for the 41 seats in the House of Representatives which comprise 39 in Trinidad and two in Tobago.

The UNC will decide how many seats the party will contest since negotiations are still taking place with one of the other major coalition partners, the COP, for the allocation of seats.

Prakash Ramdhar, who is the minister of justice said the COP will contest the six seats which it won in the May 24, 2010 General Election.

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