Prime Minister Theresa May stunned the United Kingdom last Tuesday when she announced that she had just told her Cabinet of her decision to seek a parliamentary vote to have an early general...
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Timeline of runoff provision
March 2, 2013- Cabinet appoints a National Commission on Constitutional Reform to engage in public consultation on constitutional reform. 12 June 2013 - Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar says $4 million is spent on consultations.
27 December 2013 - The Report of the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC) is submitted to the Prime Minister.
30 April - A meeting is held and the CRC agrees to some proposals selected from the report, to be taken to Parliament. The runoff is not discussed.
9 July - Another meeting is held to discuss recommendations. Commissioner Merle Hodge says she was absent from this meeting in which the runoff ballot is discussed.
4 August - Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar reveals that second ballot runoff voting, right of recall, fixed election dates and two term limits for Prime Ministers will be part of the new constitutional reform.
6 August - Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley describes the proposed legislation as “dangerous” saying it had the potential for a defeated party to hold on to power while secondary elections are held.
7 August - Constitutional Reform Commission Member, Dr Merle Hodge says the contentious runoff proposal was not in the People’s Partnership manifesto, the main consultations around the country or in the commission’s final report. She calls for the parliamentary debate to be postponed.
8 August - Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says commissioners were “handsomely paid” and attacks Hodge saying she was upset by the defeat of the Winston Dookeran faction by the Ramadhar faction in the Congress of the People’s (COP) internal election.
8 August - Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj says the bill will trigger political instability in T&T if it becomes law. He vows to mount a legal fight to stop the bill.
9 August - Former Senator Subhas Panday also predicts dire consequences for T&T if the bill is passed, saying it is an attack on democracy.
9 August - Non-governmental organisation Fixin T&T mounts a protest outside the Prime Minister’s Philippine residence. They are chased off by government supporters led by chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Premchand Sookoo.
10 August - Movement for Social Justice also calls for the postponement of the debate and issues a call for COP and TOP parliamentarians to withdraw their support.
10 August - Congress of the People calls for a delay in the vote of the legislation to allow for wider analysis.