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Trinidad and Tobago General Election Results - 15 December 1986
Parliament Building, Trinidad and Tobago

General Elections were held in Trinidad and Tobago on 15 December 1986 for all 36 seats in the House of Representatives.

Electoral System

The 36 members of the House of Representatives are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. There is no fixed election date in effect in Trinidad and at this time; hence, the choice of election date is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

Background

In the 1986 elections, the ruling People's National Movement - in power since 1956 - was for the first time confronted by a unified and broadly-based opposition, known as the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). The moderate NAR comprised four parties (the United Labour Front, the Organization for National Reconstruction, the Democratic Action Congress and the Tapia House Movement) and was led by Mr. Arthur N.R. Robinson.

Political Parties & Candidates

Four political parties contested the 1986 election.

Campaign

Key issues in the campaign pertained mainly to the economy and alleged corruption in high places. The opposition charged that the country's oil-based economy, hurt by a general drop in world oil prices, was hurt by government mismanagement; it underlined the growing unemployment rate, stressed the desirability of change and the need to restructure the economy, and pledged a moral crusade against corruption, waste and inefficiency. The PNM, headed by Prime Minister George Chambers, rested largely on its achievements over the past years.

Results

On polling day, the NAR swept to an unexpectedly large victory, capturing 33 of the 36 seats. The PNM won the three remaining seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Robinson was sworn in as Prime Minister on 16 December and announced his 13-member Cabinet.

The NAR also won 11 of the 12 seats in the Tobago House of Assembly. However, the NAR government was unable to retain its popularity for long. In April 1989 Basdeo Panday, leader of the United Labour Front, along with other dissidents formed a new party, the United
National Congress (UNC). In July 1990, UNC elected Mr Panday as its President. The UNC (with six seats in the House of Representatives) replaced the PNM (with only three) as the principal opposition party.

In July 1990, an attempted coup was staged by a militant Muslim faction which took the then Prime Minister Arthur N. R. Robinson and five Ministers hostage for five days, provoking an outbreak of rioting and looting in the capital. The hostages were released on the promise of an amnesty.

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 65.45%.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 36 single-member constituencies
VOTER TURNOUT
Total Valid Votes 573,263
Invalid Votes 4,037
Total Votes Cast 577,300
Registered Voters 882,029
Voter Turnout 65.45%
   
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of House Satm 29 Nov 1986
Polling Day Mon, 15 Dec 1986
First Meeting of Parliament Mon, 12 Jan 1987
POLITICAL LEADERS
  Photo George CHAMBERS
People's National Movement (PNM)
  Photo A.N.R. ROBINSON
National Alliance for reconstruction (NAR)
RELATED RESOURCES
Representation of the People Act Download report
Constitution Act Download report
SUMMARY RESULTS
  Party Code Votes Candidates Seats
Total % votes Change Number Change
  People's National Movement PNM 183,635 32.03% -20.91% - 3 -23
  National Alliance for Reconstruction Winner NAR 380,029 66.29% +66.29% - 33 +33
  National Joint Action Committee NJAC 8,592 1.50% -1.82% - 0 -
  People's Popular Movement PPM 796 0.14% +0.14% - 0 -
  Independent Candidates IND 211 0.04% +0.03% - 0 -
  Total   573,263 100% - - 36 -
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PNM - People's National Movement
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Key
PNM= People's National Movement; PP=People's Partnership; ILP=Independent Labour Party; IND = Inpendent candidate; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago
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