HIGHEST VOTERS EVER
Contrary to earlier reports, Monday’s local government elections saw the highest turnout ever in a local government poll, according to preliminary figures of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Rather than being the lowest turnout ever as was being touted in early reports, the exact opposite is the case. 43.2 per cent, which is equal to 447,083 people, voted. This broke the record previously set by the 2010 local government election, which had a 39.1 per cent turnout, which came in the wake of the sweeping electoral victory of the People’s Partnership, two months earlier.
In Monday’s elections the People’s National Movement (PNM) received 188,393 votes; the UNC 122,346 and the ILP 102,918. The COP received 32,496 votes.
Most of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) votes were garnered in the United National Congress (UNC) heartland. It received 38,993 votes in corporations along the East-West Corridor and the two southern municipalities, San Fernando and Point Fortin corporations. The rest of the ILP votes came from the corporations located in Central Trinidad.
In the 2010 local government election, the PNM received 130,605 votes, the UNC received 202,380 and the COP 64,473.
In terms of seats, the PNM won 85 of the total number of 136 seats, the UNC 44, the ILP three and the COP four.
The local government elections outcome is proving to be a “PR triumph” for the PNM. In terms of aldermen, the PNM is expected to receive 36 aldermen, the UNC 14, the ILP five and the COP one.
In six corporations of the eight corporations it won, the PNM is expected to be allocated all four aldermen. They are Diego Martin, Port of Spain, San Juan/Laventille, Tunapuna/Piarco, Arima and Point Fortin. In none of these corporations, the other parties got 25 per cent of the vote, which is required for the allocation of a alderman.
In the Diego Martin Corporation, the PNM received 67.1 per cent of the vote, while the COP got 13.9 per cent and 19 per cent. In the Port of Spain corporation, the PNM received 72.6 per cent of the vote, the COP received 15.8 per cent and the ILP 11.6 per cent.
In San Juan/Laventille, the PNM obtained 60 per cent, while the UNC got 20 per cent and the ILP 20 per cent. In the Tunapuna/Piarco regional corporation, the PNM received 51.1 per cent, while the COP received 23.9 per cent and the ILP 24.7 per cent. Since the COP and ILP are close to the 25 per cent threshold for an alderman, this could change when the EBC tabulates its final result for this corporation.
In Arima, the PNM received 57.9 per cent of the votes, while the COP got 19.7 per cent and the ILP 22.4 per cent. In Port Fortin the PNM got 64.1 per cent , the ILP 23.3 per cent and the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), 3.9 per cent and National Joint Action committee (NJAC) 8.7 per cent.
Despite doing well in the PR system for aldermen, the PNM however continues to oppose proportional representation because the party contends that it leads to unstable government and reinforces polarisation within the society.
Significantly, the PNM got the majority of votes cast in the Siparia Municipal Corporation, which incorporates part of the Prime Minister’s constituency. The PNM received 41.3 per cent, while the UNC received 39.8 per cent and the ILP 18.9 per cent. The PNM and UNC are expected to receive two aldermen each, making the Corporation 7/6 in the UNC’s favour. Because the ILP received less than 25 per cent of the vote, they are not entitled to an alderman.
In the Sangre Grande Corporation where the PNM won five and the UNC three seats, the PNM would receive two alderman, the UNC one and ILP one.
In Chaguanas there would be a deadlock of 4-4-4 for the PNM, UNC and ILP.
In the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, the UNC and ILP would get two aldermen each. In Siparia, where the UNC won 5/4 against the PNM, the PNM and UNC would receive two aldermen each.
In Princes Town, the situation would be the same (two aldermen each for the PNM and UNC). In San Fernando, the PNM would receive three aldermen and the COP one. In Penal/Debe the UNC which won every seat would get all four aldermen. In Mayaro/Rio Claro the PNM and UNC would receive two aldermen each.
However, Government’s last minute proposed solution to the problem of representation with its introduction of proportional representation is proving to be somewhat of a hurdle for the EBC’s finalisation of the results.
Four days after the local government poll, the EBC is still to release the official figures of the 2013 local government election. And sources said the commission was still in a meeting up to press time last night on the issue of the allocation of aldermen with respect to certain corporations.
Initially the PNM and the EBC were not seeing eye to eye on the issue, prompting the party to dispatch a legal letter.
The Express yesterday, however, obtained the EBC’s preliminary figures. The EBC must provide the parties the allocation for aldermen today under the law.