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Kamla loses ground

PORT OF SPAIN –– The Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) continued this year’s victory streak in yesterday’s local government elections, winning eight regional corporations, including retaking five it had lost in the 2010 local government polls. “We have won this election, we are on the way to winning the general election . . . . The Prime

Minister should call the general election now, having lost her mandate,” PNM leader Keith Rowley said at 10 p.m. at Balisier House in Port of Spain.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s People’s Partnership (PP), though losing overall to the PNM, retained at least five UNC “heartland” corporations, staving

off adversary Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party.

“The UNC has retained its base,” a beaming Persad-Bissessar said at 9:30 pm, speaking alongside successful candidates in Siparia. “We’ve held our base. This isn’t a government or opposition victory; it’s a true people’s victory.”

This is the Partnership’s third successive defeat after the January Tobago House of Assembly election, which the PNM won, and the July Chaguanas West by-election won by Warner. Yesterday, however, Warner’s ILP,

which failed to capture any corporations, won only two of the eight seats in the Chaguanas borough and his Felicity stronghold in Chaguanas West returned to the UNC.

Of the remaining six Chaguanas seats, the PP and the PNM each took three. ILP chairman Robin Montano conceded overall defeat as early as 9 p.m., saying: “The results show the country has retreated to tribalism . . . so we have failed. It’s clear from the results we didn’t win. But we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Warner later said the ILP had become Trinidad and Tobago’s third political force, was “here to stay” and would continue building.

The PNM, which last controlled corporations prior to 2010, yesterday returned to majority control in a trend established as early as 8:15 p.m., when the party took the Diego Martin regional corporation. Former UNC corporation chairman Anthony Sammy conceded at that time.

The PNM retained Port of Spain, San Juan/Laventille and Point Fortin and retook the corporations of Diego Martin, Tunapuna, Arima, Sangre Grande and San Fernando, which the PP won in 2010. The PNM also picked up seats and increased votes in what were traditionally non-PNM areas. Rowley particularly noted the PNM’s win in Chaguanas.

The 11 corporations the PP won in 2010 fell to five: Penal/Debe, Siparia, Princes Town, Rio Claro/Mayaro, and Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo.

The focus now falls on Chaguanas, where both the PP and PNM won three seats. The ILP, which won two seats, holds the balance of power there. (Trinidad Guardian)

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