Last update: 07-Dec-2013 1:52 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Dana: ILP may not survive until 2015
The Independent Liberal Party may not even survive until 2015, attorney Dana Seetahal suggested last night. Seetahal voiced doubts about the ILP’s ability to survive its disappointing local government election results, saying it had plateaued after the Chaguanas West by-election and sustained bruising attacks during this latest campaign.
“I just wonder whether they can take it and make it through to 2015,” she said in a discussion on i95FM, which also included journalist Dr Sheila Rampersad and former PNM senator Mariano Browne. Rampersad described the ILP’s loss in Felicity as “a shock” and all three guests agreed that the UNC’s campaign message (not to split the PP vote by voting for former PP minister Jack Warner) was a big factor in the ILP’s poor showing.
Seetahal added that despite the ILP’s claim to be representing racial political unity, “In all of (the ILP) campaign I didn’t hear a clear message except ‘Vote for Jack’.” Rampersad said voters had expressed their concern that “Warner doesn’t have the machinery to deliver on a national level as he does in concentrated constituencies.”
Rampersad also described the prime minister’s speech as a “pre-emptive concession speech (tinged with) relief at holding off the ILP and defending what they have.” She also suggested the ILP had replaced the COP as the third party in the country, judging by the popular vote.
ILP chairman Robin Montano had spoken about the ILP’s mission to end the racial divide in T&T politics, but the commentators felt the election results represented a return to traditional tribal politics. Browne said all three parties would need to move away from race, citing the last census which showed an increasing number of people in T&T described themselves as “mixed,” suggesting race would play less of a part in politics in years to come.
Browne described the Prime Minister as “brave” for calling the elections despite the poor ratings of her party and described himself as happy with the number of PNM constituency gains. He said the results signalled the end of the People’s Partnership, as the government was now effectively just the UNC. Rampersad agreed, saying, “The UNC went back to its base and the PNM’s base is coming back with a resurgence. It remains to be seen whether (the PNM) has extended beyond its traditional base.”
She said PNM leader Keith Rowley had “pulled himself up tall” and the PNM had executed a “strong and focused campaign and were not distracted by what was going on on the other two platforms.”
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