General Elections were held in Trinidad and Tobago on 6 November 1995 for all 36 seats in the House of Representatives.
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.
In August 1995, the Government of Prime Minister Patrick Manning (People's National Movement - PNM) declared a state of emergency and placed the Speaker of the House of Representatives under house arrest. In October, Mr. Manning called for premature elections after the Government's parliamentary majority fell to one seat.
Political Parties & Candidates
A total of 114 candidates from seven political parties contested the election.
As in the past, the PNM - in office for all but five years since independence in 1962 - was mainly opposed by the United National Congress (UNC), headed by Mr. Basdeo Panday. The latter, active throughout his career in the trade union movement, called especially for vigorous action on unemployment and crime; he also vowed to introduce anti-racial discrimination legislation. The PNM, for its part, campaigned on its record and the economic stability achieved during it rule.
Polling day results left the two main adversaries deadlocked with 17 House seats each, as both gained in the popular vote at the expense of the smaller National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), which as before captured the two Tobago seats. Once again, a racial divide manifested itself in the polling, with the PNM receiving most of its support from the primarily urban Afro-Trinidadian population and the UNC being backed by the mostly rural-based Indo-Trinidadian community. Four other minor parties failed to gain representation.
Given this outcome, and after the UNC and the NAR had concluded a coalition agreement, Panday was sworn in as Prime Minister on 9 November - the first Trinidadian of Indian origin to hold this post; he promised a government of "national unity". The new Cabinet was sworn in on 15 November 1995.
Voter turnout was 63.30%.