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PNM supporters celebrate San Fernando East candidate Brian Manning’s victory on Navet Street, San Fernando on Monday night.

Renuka Singh

The People’s National Movement (PNM) won the popular vote in the 2020 General Election.

The party earned 13, 062 votes more than the United National Congress (UNC), according to the official preliminary results released by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) yesterday.

According to the EBC, the PNM earned a total of 322, 250 votes while their closet competitor, the UNC, won 309,188 votes.

The PNM’s candidate for Arouca/Maloney, Camille Robinson-Regis, earned the most votes, garnering 12,697. PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley earned significantly less, with some 10,791 votes to retain his seat in Diego Martin West.

The candidate for Chaguanas West under the UNC banner, Dinesh Rambally, earned the most votes in the party, garnering some 15,502 to claim that seat. Rambally even earned more votes than UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who amassed 13,487 votes.

Initial counts had shown that the UNC amassed more votes than the PNM but just like the general election results in 2015, the EBC figures show that was not the case on Monday.

The EBC figures also show a marked decrease in the number of people who actually voted. In 2015, 734,792 people cast their ballots as compared to 658,297 who exercised their franchise this year. The EBC also rejected 1,775 ballots this year.

Back in 2015, 2,452 ballots were rejected.

When compared to 2015 voting, both Persad-Bissessar and Rowley earned less votes this time around.

Back in 2015, Persad-Bissessar won 14,896 votes while Rowley won 12,855 votes for their respective constituencies. This time around, Persad-Bissessar won 13,487 votes while Rowley secured 10,791.

Despite these figures, the EBC is currently engaged in a recount of five seats as requested by the UNC. Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) leader Watson Duke conceded defeat in Tobago East a short while after the recount he ordered started on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, UNC public relations officer Anita Haynes claimed said the election was fraught with irregularities in many constituencies. The party called for a recount in San Fernando West, St Joseph, Tunapuna, Toco-Sangre Grande and La Horquetta/Talparo.

Haynes said the disparity in the figures was cause for concern, noting the party was shocked when Rowley announced victory at the polls although the ballots were still being counted. There can be no swearing-in of MPs until the matter is resolved.

In an interview yesterday morning on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, Rowley said the UNC was deliberately delaying the swearing-in to push the narrative that the new government was illegitimate. (See page 7)

According to the Constitution, the last sworn-in Prime Minister remains in charge of the country until a new swearing-in. Rowley said that not being able to swear-in a new Cabinet was hurting the manifesto promises his party had made.