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Elections in Trinidad and Tobago

Monday brings Trinidad and Tobago’s 10th post-independence election. Voters are faced with three viable parties – the ruling PNM, the opposition UNC and COP, a new party led by Winston Dookeran, who served briefly as political leader of the UNC. In the past, when there was a three-way split, the PNM benefited most – in 1981 it was able to win “opposition” seats like Pointe-a-Pierre and Princes Town on a plurality. Conventional wisdom seems lean towards a PNM victory; Tony Fraser seems to believe that a PNM victory is inevitable (Oct. 24 column, Oct. 31 column), but political scientist Hamid Ghany seems a less certain, but his column was based on polls taken in September. More recent polling puts the PNM clearly ahead, which may reflect a swing back towards the PNM and UNC. Of course, added to the whole mix is the fact that there are 5 new seats up for grabs this election.

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