Trinidad and Tobago. In November, local elections were held, just over a year after the last parliamentary election. Although the ruling party People’s National Movement (PNM) won the most districts, the election was still a success for the opposition United National Congress (UNC), which received the highest number of votes overall. According to countryaah, the current population of Trinidad and Tobago is 1,399,499. This was likely due to lower voter turnout among PNM’s supporters.
Since the parliamentary elections in September 2015, UNC has challenged the result in six smaller constituencies, a battle that got its resolution in October 2016. According to thereligionfaqs, after the issue has been up in several courts, an appeals court finally ruled that the country’s electoral commission did indeed violate the law when on September election day extended the vote by one hour due to violent rain. However, the judges found no reason to hold a re-election for that matter.
In July, one of the country’s most influential politicians passed away in recent decades, Patrick Manning. He led the PNM for 24 years and served as prime minister for two periods: 1991–95 and 2001–10. Manning turned 69.
History. – The dominance of the People’s National Movement (PNM), founded in 1956 and winner of all political elections since then, continued into the 1970s, also favored by the strong impetus that the rise in oil prices gave to the country’s economy. The PNM leader, E. Williams, held the leadership of the government uninterruptedly from 1956 to 1981, the year of his death, when he was replaced at the head of the party and in the office of prime minister by G. Chambers.
Of moderate orientation and expression of the middle classes of African origin, the PNM drew most of the support from the black population, while the social base of the opposition forces was constituted mainly by the population of Indian origin, descended from agricultural workers recruited in the 19th century. with the indentures system(long-term semi-servile contracts) to cope with the labor crisis following the abolition of slavery. Just over 50% in terms of votes, the strength of the PNM translated into overwhelming parliamentary majorities, thanks to the single-member majority system, the divisions among other parties and the relative under-representation of the population of Indian origin, predominantly concentrated in the western areas of Trinidad characterized by large plantations. The main nucleus of the opposition were the Labor-inspired forces: all the seats in Trinidad not obtained by the PNM went to the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) in the 1960s, which the United Labor Front took over in the following decade(ULF); as regards the island of Tobago, characterized by strong autonomist sentiments, the two seats in the Chamber (out of 36) due to it were won, starting from 1976, by the Democratic Action Congress (DAC), which also secured the vast majority of seats in the local elective assembly established in 1980.
The elections of November 1981 reconfirmed the PNM’s hegemony, but in the following years the drastic worsening of the economic situation and the trend towards unification between the main opposition forces undermined its foundations for the first time. The international crisis of the 1980s and in particular the fall in hydrocarbon prices heavily hit the country’s economy which, after about thirty years of relatively sustained growth, plunged into a severe depression. Between 1980 and 1991 gross domestic product declined in real terms by more than 4% per year, while unemployment rose from about 10 to 20% of the workforce, and the austerity policies imposed by international creditors contributed to worsening conditions. of life of the population. National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), won two-thirds of the votes and 33 seats in the House. The leader of the NAR (former leader of the DAC), ANR Robinson, assumed the leadership of the government.
Soon the continuation of the economic crisis and the further tightening of austerity measures by Robinson led to a split in the party, with the exit of the former Labor component: in 1989 this gave birth to a new opposition force, the United National Congress (UNC), chaired by B. Panday, former leader of the ULF. The rise of social tension was matched in the summer of 1990 by an attempted insurrection promoted by a group of black Muslims (Jamaat al-Muslimeen), who occupied the Parliament building on July 27, taking Robinson and numerous other ministers hostage; after a few days of violence and looting, with dozens of dead and hundreds of injured, the crisis ended with the surrender of the rioters in exchange for an amnesty, but the government was further weakened.
In the elections of December 1991, the NAR retained only the two seats in Tobago inherited from the DAC (in 1987 the Robinson administration recognized the island greater autonomy): in Trinidad the UNC obtained 13 seats, while the PNM, with 45 % of the votes, he regained the parliamentary majority (the remaining 21 seats) and the leadership of the government. The new administration, chaired by the leader of the PNM P. Manning (who succeeded Chambers in 1987), continued the policies of austerity and ” structural adjustment ”, promoting in particular plans for privatization and downsizing of the public sector which have given rise to further conflicts with trade unions and the Labor opposition; the persistence of the economic crisis was also accompanied by a growth in crime and related social tensions.