Government Politics of Trinidad and Tobago
Last elections: September 2015 (national)
Next elections: 2020 (national)
Head of state: President Anthony Carmona (2013–)
Head of government: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Ruling party: People’s Partnership coalition
Following the tied December 2001 general election – when the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the United National Congress (UNC) each secured 18 seats in the House of Representatives (and the National Alliance for Reconstruction none) – a fresh election was called in October 2002 when the PNM secured a majority, with 20 seats with 50.7% of the votes, while the UNC took 16 with 46.5%. PNM leader Patrick Manning – whom the president had chosen to be prime minister and form a government after the tied election – resumed as prime minister.
In the elections in November 2007 (with the number of contested seats increased from 36 to 41), on a platform that highlighted its strong economic management and proposed introduction of an executive presidency, the ruling PNM won with 26 seats and 45.9% of votes. The main opposition UNC took 15 seats and 29.7% of votes and the newly established Congress of the People gained 22.6% of votes but no seats. PNM’s majority was a few seats short of the two-thirds required to amend the constitution.
Following a threatened vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Manning in April 2010, he dissolved parliament. In the general election which followed in May 2010, a new five-party coalition, the People’s Partnership, led by UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and including the Congress of the People, won 29 of the 41 seats in the lower house and 42.9% of the votes cast, soundly defeating the incumbent PNM (12 seats and 39.6%). Persad-Bissessar became prime minister, the first woman in the country’s history to assume the role.
On the retirement of President George Maxwell Richards at the end of his second five-year term of office, on 15 February 2013 Justice Anthony Carmona, the sole candidate, was elected President by the electoral college. He was sworn in on 18 March 2013.
In the 2015 elections the PNM won 23 of the 41 seats and 51.7% of the votes cast to defeat the People’s Partnership coalition, which managed to secure 18 seats (17 of which were won by the UNC with 39.6% of votes and 1 by the COP with 6% of the votes cast). Keith Rowley, the leader of the PNM, was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Carmona on 9th September 2015.
In the Tobago House of Assembly election, held on 21 January 2013, the People’s National Movement, led by Orville London, won all 12 elective seats.