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Trinidad and Tobago General Election Results - 24 May 2010
Parliament Building, Trinidad and Tobago

General Elections were held in Trinidad and Tobago on 24 May 2010 for all 41 seats in the House of Representatives.

Electoral System

The 41 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

Prime Minister Patrick Manning asked President George Maxwell Richards to dissolve Parliament on 8 April 2010, one day before parliament was scheduled to examine a motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister. The motion had been filed in March by the Leader of the opposition United National Congress-Alliance (UNC), Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. She had accused the government of a lack of oversight over corruption scandals involving a government urban development corporation. She criticized the Prime Minister's decision to dissolve Parliament as an act of cowardice. The elections to the House of Representatives were subsequently set for 24 May, two and a half years earlier than they were constitutionally due. 

In the previous elections held in November 2007, Prime Minister Manning's People's National Movement (PNM) won 26 of the 41 seats at stake, giving him a second consecutive term. The UNC took the remaining 15 seats. The Congress of the People (COP), a breakaway party from the UNC, failed to win any parliamentary representation. The PNM had governed the country for all but 11 years since the party was founded in 1956. 

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the world's leading exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG), but the economy was severely damaged by the global economic crisis in 2009. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 3.2 per cent in 2009, the country's first annual GDP decline in 16 years. 

Prior to the 2010 elections, the UNC accused the PNM of corruption and mismanagement of the country's energy wealth. The UNC argued that the PNM government had wasted energy revenues on giant building projects and two international summits instead of providing better services and more jobs for citizens. 

Prior to the 2010 elections, and for the first time since the country gained independence from Great Britain in 1962, an opposition coalition - The People's Partnership - was formed in a bid to oust the ruling party. On 22 April 2010, five opposition parties (see note 1) - including the UNC and the COP - signed a unity pact. 

Of the country's 1.2 million inhabitants, around 40 per cent are of Indian descent and 37.5 per cent of African origin, while 20.5 per cent of the population are described as "mixed". These communities traditionally vote along ethnic lines. The PNM draws support from Trinidadians of African descent, while the UNC has the backing of the Indian community. Mrs. Persad-Bissessar (of Indian ethnicity) pledged to cut across ethnic lines. 

Political Parties & Candidates

One hundred candidates were nominated to contest the election. There were 96 candidates from seven political parties and four independent candidates. One independent candidate withdrew his candidature before the election resulting in 99 candidates facing the poll.

Campaign

Prime Minister Manning's PNM ran on its record, citing poverty reduction and a better education system. It argued that the government had successfully brought billions of dollars in investment to the country's petrochemical industries. According to the government, the percentage of students enrolled in higher education increased fivefold from 9 per cent in 2001 to 45 per cent in 2010. The Prime Minister promised to construct 18 new modern police stations across the nation to improve security. However, the PNM was reportedly losing ground due to the economic slow-down, spiralling crime and a spate of corruption scandals. 

The People's Partnership promised change. It accused the PNM government of massive corruption, failure to provide medical facilities and general mismanagement of the nation. COP leader and former Central Bank Governor Winston Dookeran said that the People's Partnership would work for safety and security, economic development, justice and the well-being of citizens, and introduce a new face of governance. 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) declared that the elections had been free, fair and transparent. However, it recommended that the Election and Boundaries Commission use bigger polling stations to avoid congestion and provide facilities for persons with disabilities. 

Results

The final results gave 29 seats to the People's Partnership. The PNM took the remaining 12 seats. In all, 12 women were elected. 

On 26 May, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar took the oath of the office as Prime Minister in a ceremony administered by President George Maxwell Richards, thereby becoming the first woman to assume the premiership in Trinidad and Tobago. 

On 18 June, the newly elected House of Representatives held its first session and elected former senator Mr. Wade Mark as its new Speaker. On the same day, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar appointed Mr. Timothy Hamel-Smith, an attorney-at-law, as Senate President. 

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 69.88%.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM
System First-past-the-post
Elected Members 41 single-member constituencies
VOTER TURNOUT
Total Valid Votes 724,135
Invalid Votes 2,691
Total Votes Cast 726,826
Registered Voters 1,040,128
Voter Turnout 69.88%
   
CRITICAL DATES
Dissolution of House Wed, 8 Apr 2010
Nomination Day Mon, 3 May 2010
Polling Day Mon, 24 May 2010
First Meeting of Parliament Fri, 18 Jun 2010
POLITICAL LEADERS
  Photo Patrick MANNING
People's National Movement (PNM)
  Photo Kamla PERSAD_BISSESSAR
People's Partnership (PP)
ELECTION REPORTS
CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission Final Report Download report
RELATED RESOURCES
Representation of the People Act Download report
Constitution Act Download report
PARTY MANIFESTOS View all Members of Parliament of Barbados
Download
PNM 2010 Manifesto
Download
PP 2010 Manifesto
 
SUMMARY RESULTS
  Party Code Votes Candidates Seats
Total % votes Change Number Change
  People's National Movement PNM 287,458 39.70% -6.327% 41 12 -14
  United National Congress (PP) UNC 316,600 43.72% +13.88% 26 21 +6
  Congress of the People (PP) COP 102,265 14.12% -8.60% 13 6 +6
  Tobago Organisation of the People (PP) TOP 15,371 2.12% +2.12% 2 2 +2
  New National Vision NNV 2,098 0.29% +0.29% 12 0 -
  Trinidad and Tobago National Congress Party TTNCP 29 0.00% +0.00% 1 0 -
  Independent Candidates IND 314 0.04% +0.02% 4 0 -
  Total   724,135 100% - 99 41 -
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 POLITICAL PARTIES learn more
PNM - People's National Movement
PP - People's Partnership
ILP - Independent Labour Party
 PARTY MANIFESTOS learn more
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Download PP 2015 Manifesto
Download ILP 2015 Manifesto
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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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