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The PNM won the election, winning 26 of the 41 seats and 236,420 votes. The UNC A won 15 votes and received 103,247 votes. COP won no seats and received 119,007. About 56% of the electorate turned out. I estimated that the PNM received about 43% of the votes cast.

We’re basically back to the ONR in 1981. They won the second largest number of votes, but “not a damn seat”. About half the people whot voted support the PNM, about a quarter support Panday’s party, and about a quarter want something else. Ignoring, for the moment, the 44% of the electorate which didn’t vote (which includes people like me, who aren’t in the country and thus can’t vote), the inadequacy of the first-past-the-post system is just glaring. As in 1981, the second largest group of voters have no representation. Yes, we get to cast our votes. Yes, elections are mostly free and fair. No, this isn’t democracy.

Update: Newer figures today show that the PNM received 299,813 votes, the UNC A 194,425 votes and COP 148,041. (That’s what I get for taking Newsday seriously!) So I was wrong, COP didn’t receive more votes than the UNC A. Nonetheless, the basic fact remains that almost a quarter of the people who voted have no representation in Parliament.  Total turnout appears to be 66% rather than 56%.


4 Responses

  1. […] about 25% of the popular vote, a bigger chunk than the UNC, according to preliminary figures. “The inadequacy of the first-past-the-post system is just glaring,” commented Further Thoughts. The second largest group of voters have no representation. Yes, we get […]

  2. I predict a coup in 2010!

  3. Dear Sir,
    It is impossible for any opposition if split in two or more parties to win an election. In 2007 the UNC -A and COP were the main opposition parties. History have shown that a divided opposition wil not win. There what had to hane happened was both the UNC-A and The COP come to some kind of accommodation in order to capture the majority of the seats and hence form the new government. This did not happen and the PNM won the election.
    Krishna Toolsie

  4. True. But I think the real problem is the first-past-the-post system. If people could vote for who the liked best, without having to vote strategically, things might be different. Sure, we would probably have a lot of coalition governments, but that would be better than not having the will of the people represented.

    While COP and UNC A working together would have done better, it wouldn’t have been workable. For a lot of people, Panday was the problem. Given the way Dookeran was treated in the UNC, he would have been a fool to trust Panday again. At the same time, I don’t see how Panday would have given the upper hand to COP people. With Panday leading the UNC, any arrangement was stillborn. But if Panday had been willing to let go of the party, there would never have been a COP.

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