Friday, April 9, 2010

T&T Prime Minister dissolves Parliament!

Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced Thursday that he has advised President Max Richards to dissolve the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament effective midnight, April 8, 2010.

The move effectively kills an opposition no confidence motion that was scheduled to take place on Friday in the House of Representatives.

Manning did not announce when an election date sources close to the opposition told JYOTI the election would most likely be on May 17. The earliest date to hold the vote is May 10 but it could be held later, up to a maximum of 90 days from the date that the Parliament is dissolved.

Manning's People's National Movement (PNM) won a clear majority of 26 of the 41 seats in the House of Representatives in elections on November 5, 2007. No election was due until at least 2012.

But the government has been under increasing pressure from the opposition to call an election because of what politicians say is the Manning administration's poor record and its inability to deal with crime and corruption.

Manning told a special PNM convention last month that he would likely give the opposition its wish and put his party on an election footing, instructing all constituency executives to begin the nomination process immediately.

That exercise was supposed to have been completed Wednesday.

The opposition had been expecting the election. In 2007 the the United National Congress (UNC) and the Congress of the People (COP)two parties ran independent campaigns and that helped Manning win a comfortable majority although his party won just over 46 per cent of the popular vote.

Since then the two parties have talked about a united opposition front, but the unity process has not advanced beyond an agreement in principle that they will field single candidates in an election.

COP Leader Winston Dookeran is out of the country but UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar assured reporters this week that the unity deal is on.

Persad-Bissessar has scheduled a media conference for 6 pm at the headquarters of the UNC in Couva.

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