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Don’t Celebrate A PNM Victory Yet
Why is anybody surprised that Keith Rowley won the leadership election in the PNM? It was a given even before the bell rang that the PNM would rally behind its leader and maintain the status quo.
In its entire history, the party has only dumped one leader—Patrick Manning. And while he deserved to go and was more than willing to take full responsibility for losing the 2010 general election, we need to note the unceremonious manner in which Rowley’s supporters hounded him out of office and how Rowley became leader of the party in 2010. Rowley legitimately won by a landslide, with his challenger way behind in every constituency even in her political stomping ground in Arima.
They also showed another interesting statistic. Every PNM member—more than 81,000—was entitled to vote, but the vast majority did not. The PNM spin is that Kamla got just over 13,000 votes in 2010 when she defeated Basdeo Panday. Rowley and his handlers are missing the point that there were fundamental differences between the two elections.
Only financial and new members (about 35,000) were eligible to vote, of which about 21,000 voted, giving Kamla nearly 40 per cent of the overall vote and about 64 per cent of the popular vote. So, in 2014, it is neither fair nor accurate to compare Rowley’s results with those of the UNC in 2010. Also, Kamla was not the incumbent leader and she had no access to the elections machinery.
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