Trinidad's parliament dissolved for October
General elec tions were scheduled for October 7, the third election in
for the twin-island nation.
Faced with a looming political and financial crisis, Prime Minister Patrick
reconvened the parliament, which had last met in April in a failed attempt to elect
the speaker, to try again.
But the party of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday blocked the vote again
Wednesday, forcing the government to dissolve Parliament and call for early
Panday's United National Congress party and Manning's People's National
Movement canceled out each other's votes during Wednesday's election for a
speaker. A majority of votes is needed.
The government's budget expires at the end of September and even with
emergency funds, the money would only last until October.
Still, there is no guarantee the same impasse won't occur during the October
The last elections, held in December, resulted in an 18-18 tie that reflected
oil-rich Caribbean nation's split on ethnic lines between those descended from
African slaves and East Indian laborers imported after slavery was abolished.
President Arthur Robinson resolved the draw by appointing Manning as prime
minister. Panday, in turn, said the appointment was unlawful and has since blocked
votes to elect a speaker.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.