TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Parliamentary Chamber: House of Representatives

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  House of Representatives


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  7 October 2002


Purpose of elections:

  General elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following premature dissolution of this body in August 2002. Elections had previously taken place in December 2001.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Voters went to the polls on 7 October 2002 in the third general elections in less than two years. The parliamentary elections were called in an attempt to end a political deadlock arising from a tie in previous polls in December 2001, when the two main parties, the People's National Movement (PNM) and the United National Congress (UNC) each won 18 seats in the 36-seat Parliament.

Faced with this impasse, the leaders of the two parties, Mr. Patrick Manning (PNM) and Mr. Basdeo Panday (UNC), agreed to let the President of the country appoint a Prime Minister, as stipulated in the Constitution. He did so and appointed Mr. Manning. When the Parliament convened, it failed twice to elect a Speaker, creating a new political deadlock. Without a parliamentary majority and without a Speaker to settle parliamentary decisions, the Prime Minister was unable to adopt a new budget, as the previous one was due to expire at the end of September 2002, and thus had to set a date for new elections.

The electoral campaign was a bitter one, with Mr Manning and Mr Panday, himself a former Prime Minister, trading insults and accusations. Both the PNM and the UNC also spoke of the need for a constitutional reform, emphasizing that in order to take such a step, the Government had to have at least 24 seats in Parliament.

On polling day, security was tightened in the districts where the races were expected to be close and either party could win the parliamentary seats at stake. Nevertheless, there were no reports of serious violence.

The ruling PNM won 20 of the 36 parliamentary seats at stake, with the opposition UNC picking up the remaining 16 seats.

On 9 October 2002, Mr. Patrick Manning was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

On 17 October 2002, Mr Barendra Sinanan was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives and Ms Linda Baboolal re-elected President of the Senate.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (7 October 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 875 260
Voters 608 830 (70 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
People's National Movement (PNM) 308 807 50.72
United National Congress (UNC) 283 656 46.59

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
People's National Movement (PNM) 20
United National Congress (UNC) 16

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 29
Women: 7
Percent of women: 19.44


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union