PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Wednesday released the preliminary figures for Monday’s general elections, showing that the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) had won the polls.
The preliminary figures show that the PNM won 22 of the 41 seats in the Parliament, with the remainder going to the main opposition United National Congress (UNC).
But the EBC said that the recount was still taking place in five constituencies as had been requested by the defeated UNC candidates for the constituencies of St. Joseph, Tunapuna, La Horquetta/Talparo, Toco/Sangre Grande, San Fernando West.
However, it said that the recount for the Tobago East constituency that had been requested by the defeated candidate, Watson Duke, the leader of the People’s Democratic Patriots (PDP) had been called off after Duke “conceded”.
According to the figures released by the EBC, in St. Joseph, the PNM’s candidate, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh had received 9,354 votes as against 8,543 for the UNC’s candidate, Ahloy Hunt , a brother of a former PNM cabinet minister, Gary Hunt.
The EBC said in Tunapuna, the PNM’s candidate, Esmond Forde, the deputy speaker in the last Parliament, polled 9,460 as against 7,534 votes for the UNC’s David Nakhid, a former national football team captain.
In La Horquetta/Talparo, the PNM’s chairman, Foster Cummings received 9,713 in comparison to 7,790 for Jerlean John of the UNC with the PNM also winning the Toco/Sangre Grande seat with its candidate, Roger Monroe getting 10,698 as against 7,313 for Nabila Greene of the UNC.
In the San Fernando West constituency, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi polled 8,457 as against 6,651 for attorney Sean Sobers.
According to the EBC, a total of 658, 297 people cast ballots in the election, from an electorate of 1,134,135 million, representing a 58.04 per cent turnout. In 2015, the figure was 68 per cent.
The EBC said that the PNM had received 322,250 of the popular votes as compared to 309,188 for the UNC.
The figures showed that of the other 17 political parties that contested the election, only the PDP with 10,367 crossed the 10-thousand mark.
None of the four independent candidates made any headway with their figures ranging from 12 to 217 votes.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had earlier on Wednesday warned of plans by the UNC to delegitimize the victory of the PNM, saying that while it is within the constitutional right of candidates to seek a recount in any election, the present situation is not what it appears to be.
“There is a very dangerous development taking place here….there are three things the UNC is doing, one is to disrupt the process and this is not accidental, it is a deliberate strategy which is dangerous to this country”.
He said by disrupting the process, the UNC is preventing “a smooth flow of the country’s governance system” noting that his new administration would have been sworn in on Wednesday “had those recounts not been called”.
UNC leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar has so far not conceded defeat.