|07PORTOFSPAIN1113||2007-11-06 20:35:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Port Of Spain|
VZCZCXRO9548 RR RUEHGR DE RUEHSP #1113 3102035 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 062035Z NOV 07 FM AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8787 INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3723
UNCLAS PORT OF SPAIN 001113
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Led by Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the
People's National Movement (PNM) scored a convincing victory
November 5, winning 26 of 41 seats in Parliament. The United
National Congress (UNC) won the remaining 15, with the newly
formed Congress of the People (COP) being "blanked." Voting
was peaceful, with no major incidents reported. Informal
comments by CARICOM observers while the voting was in
progress were positive. The PM will be sworn in November 7
and is expected soon after to name his cabinet. Given the
continuation of the current PM in office, GOTT policies are
unlikely to change in any major way. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) The PNM won 26 seats (in line with ref predictions)
in yesterday's parliamentary elections, holding onto its
traditional strongholds and winning several marginal seats.
The PNM won in the north and south of Trinidad and also got
both Tobago seats, while the UNC won in the central part of
the island. Voting tended to follow ethnic divisions, with
the PNM garnering the majority of the Afo-Trini votes and
the UNC and COP many of the Ino-Trini votes. Nonetheless,
all parties sought o appeal to the entire electorate and
four Indo-rinis won on the PNM ticket and two Afro-Trinis,
ncluding party financier Jack Warner, won as UNC cndidates.
UNC Party leader Basdeo Panday again on his seat.
3. (SBU) The COP was "blanked" (sht out), with even party
head Winston Dookeran failing to secure a seat (his
constituency was won by the UNC). The COP drew more votes
away from the UNC than it did from the PNM, and may have
enabled the PNM to gain some marginal seats by splitting the
opposition vote. Although it is not a certainty that a
UNC-COP coalition could have defeated the PNM, once last
night's voting trend was clear, Panday blasted Dookeran for
spurning earlier unity pleas. Taking a somewhat higher road,
Dookeran congratulated the PNM and UNC for their victories,
stated that the country was not yet ready for his "new type
of politics," and expressed hope the COP would continue to
build its base for the next election.
4. (SBU) Manning will be sworn in as Prime Minister November
7; he is expected to name his cabinet soon thereafter. GOTT
policies are not likely to change radically; the PNM,s
campaign platform was based on "Plan 2020," the master plan
for Trinidad and Tobago achieving first world status by 2020.
Foreign policy was not a major issue in the campaign and no
major course corrections are expected.
5. (SBU) Although many businesses and offices closed at 2:00
PM on Election Day, the expected afternoon surge of voters
did not materialize. Turnout figures are not yet complete,
but appear below the 2002 figure of 69.64 percent. Informal
observation of several polling places by Embassy officers
(and the British High Commission) found the vote peaceful and
free from any intimidation; CARICOM observers speaking while
voting was taking place also praised Trinidadians for their
civic mindedness and electoral manners.