Lowest voter turnout in COP's election history

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 10:45
 Out of 40,000 Congress of the People (COP) members registered to vote in Sunday’s internal elections only 589 voters exercised their franchise.
Of this figure, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who emerged victorious as political leader captured the majority of votes with 416, while her main rival Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol attained 168 votes.
The official figures were given by COP’s election committee chairman Ricardo Rambally in a press release yesterday.
Rambally stated that there were two spoiled and three rejected ballots.
This figure represented the lowest in the COP’s voting process since it was founded in 2006 by Winston Dookeran.
The voters on Sunday cast their votes at 13 polling stations across T&T.
It was also the first time the COP had used an online system where members could have voted at any polling station.
Seepersad-Bachan admitted that the voter turn-out was low and it was time to rebuild the party.
She attributed one of the reasons for the poor turn out to insufficient polling stations across the country.
Delivering her speech at the COP's headquarters in Charlieville, Seepersad-Bachan said the party also operated on a shoestring budget for the election which attributed to many challenges.
"Everyone knows that the election is a costly exercise."
 Seepersad-Bachan urged the members to work together to rebuild the healing process.
 "The COP started with 10 and 15 people and it can be done again. We have to regain the faith and trust of the people once more," she said.
In the party’s 2014 internal election Prakash Ramadhar who vied for the post of political leader secured victory with 1,473 votes, while Seepersad-Bachan attained 1,028 votes.
Trailing behind were Dr Lincoln Douglas with 162 and Rufus Foster with four votes. At that time, 49,000 COP members were eligible to vote.
Having contested the 2007 general election, the COP captured over 140,000 votes or almost 25 percent of the total votes cast but did not win a seat.