Final election results give prime minister's party second term in Trinidad
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) -- Prime Minister Basdeo Panday's party has
another five years in power in last week's close and racially charged elections, according
to final results released Tuesday.
Panday's United National Congress, supported mostly by Trinidadians of
East Indian descent,
won 19 seats; the opposition People's National Movement, with mainly Afro-Trinidadian
supporters, won 16 seats, and a third party won one seat. The elections commission
announced the results on television Tuesday.
The opposition, led by former Prime Minister Patrick Manning, has been
threatening a court
challenge to two winning candidates in Panday's party, alleging they failed to disclose they
were also citizens of other countries.
If the opposition pursues its case and wins it could eventually give them
majority in the 36-seat parliament. The leader of the party with the most seats
becomes prime minister.
Trinidad and Tobago is divided politically between those of East Indian
African descent, which each make up 40 percent of the population. The parties
were running neck-and-neck up to election day, and one district needed a
recount before making results final.
President A.N.R. Robinson has said he would swear in the next prime minister
when he receives the final elections results. Spokesman Arnold Corneal said
the president had not yet received them.
Panday, the country's first Indo-Trinidadian leader, had been urging
Robinson to swear him in for another term based on initial results, while the
opposition asked to wait until their court case is heard. The opposition has not
been able to take their complaint to court until final results were released.
"My position has been that I would wait for the information from the Elections
and Boundaries Commission," Robinson said. "The whole country knows that I
do not yield to pressure when I think what I am doing is right."
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.