Tight race expected in Trinidad and Tobago general election

16:14, May 24, 2010      

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About one million people in Trinidad and Tobago are ready to vote on Monday to choose their new prime minister, with a tight race expected between current Prime Minister Patrick Manning and the opposition candidate.

According to the Electoral Board Commission (EBC), some 1,040,011 citizens out of a total population of 1.3 million were registered to vote in the election, which will also produce 41 members of the parliament.

Manning called the snap election in April after his government was challenged with a non-confidence vote by the opposition on corruption charges midway through its five-year term.

One of the Caribbean's most enduring political figures, Manning's bid for the fourth term now looks unpredictable.

He and his National People's Movement (PNM), which has dominated politics for half a century, faces a tough battle against a five-party coalition, led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar of the main opposition United National Congress (UNC).

Persad-Bissessar is hoping to become the Caribbean nation's first female prime minister, backed also by four other coalition parties.

Opinion polls suggest the two are having a close race in the vote for a simple majority of seats in the 41-member parliament. The PMN now holds 26 seats and the UNC has the remaining 15.

A few hours before the vote takes place, streets of the capital city Port of Spain had flowing traffic, with shops opening as usual and some sports centers having soccer matches going on.

Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean composed of two main islands, covering an area of 5,128 square km. A former British colony, the country obtained independence in 1962.

Its multi-ethnic population is mainly divided along two political lines, with Manning and his PNM drawing support from Afro-Trinidadians and the UNC relying on Indo-Trinidadian backing.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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