Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley has claimed victory in general elections, a preliminary result that appeared to secure him a second term as leader of the energy-rich Caribbean island country.
Rowley’s People’s National Movement (PNM) “has been called to service in the government … for a second time,” the daily Trinidad and Tobago Guardian quoted him as saying after the elections held on Monday.
The PNM took 22 seats against 19 seats for the opposition United National Congress (UNC), whose leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that it will ask for recounts in marginal areas, according to the daily.
“The fights are not over until the recounts are done,” she said.
Rowley’s government has been praised for its handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country which has reported 295 infections and eight deaths.
But the premier has been criticized over the years-long contraction of the economy, which is largely based on petroleum and petrochemicals, and over the arrival of large numbers of Venezuelan migrants into the country.
Rowley said his party had lost votes from senior citizens who could not go to vote because of the pandemic.
“This victory is largely the involvement of youths,” he said.
The former British colony of 1.4 million people is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, thanks to its reserves of oil and gas.