The Times reports on the election in Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago is to have its first woman premier after Prime Minister Patrick Manning was ousted in a snap election on Monday
Jubilant crowds gathered at the party headquarters of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Caribbean country’s attorney general, who is set to become its first female Prime Minister after Mr Manning conceded defeat late last night.
“We’ve lost the elections,” Mr Manning said bluntly on live television as Ms Persad-Bissessar’ United National Congress (UNC) party, a five-party coalition, headed toward a significant majority with preliminary results showing they had won 27 out of 41 seats.
“I take full responsibility for the defeat,” he added.
Mr Manning, whose People’s National Movement (PNM) has dominated politics in Trinidad and Tobago for half a century, had taken a gamble by calling the vote mid-way through his five-year term to thwart an opposition motion of no-confidence in him.
Mr Manning’s administration had been under fire over allegations of wasting resources and neglecting healthcare spending, with Ms Persad-Bissessar’s campaign making the most of voters’ worries about rising gang violence and corruption scandals in the former British colony.
Although Mr Manning, 64, who has ruled the country for 13 of the last 17 years had reduced poverty and attracted billions of dollars in investments in the country’s petrochemical industries, he was regarded as a profligate spender, with millions of dollars poured into giant building projects.
Mr Mananing denied mismanaging funds but said he accepted the people’s will.
“I want to show you all that it is not the end of the world,” the political veteran told supporters late on Monday.
“We in the PNM believe in democracy. The people have spoken.”
The winner needed a simple majority of seats in the 41-member parliament, where until now the PNM held 26 seats, with the rest going to the UNC. Just over one million of the country’s 1.3 million people were eligible to vote, and first estimates put turnout at around 60 percent.
For the original Times report go to http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7135740.ece