Local Government Election on October 21- proportional representation to be implemented

Caption: Prime Minister the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Photo courtesy www.flickr.com. File photo

August 29, 2013:

Local Government election will be held on October 21st, 2013 with the introduction of proportional representation in the election of aldermen.

Speaking earlier today at the post Cabinet media briefing which was held at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Clair, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the announcement.

“The life of the local government bodies came to an end on July 26, 2013. There have been widespread public speculations that the elections would be postponed. Local Government Election will not be postponed. A number of councillors and non-Government officials have said the elections should be postponed to under local government reform. The reform will be undertaken,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The Prime Minister said Cabinet agreed to make certain amendments to the Municipal Corporation Act, starting with the introduction of proportional representation. Persad-Bissessar explained that the current Municipal Act was passed in 1990 “it is more than 20 years old” and so she believed it must be revisited.

“According to the draft legislation, the Local Government Elections will be held when they are due. Proportional representation will be used for the election of aldermen and councillors will be elected through the first-past-the-post system. The current method for electing an alderman will no longer be relevant. Every vote will be counted in every district for the election of an alderman,” she explained.

Persad-Bissessar further noted that all political parties contesting the election will be required to produce the names of those proposed for the post of aldermen. This will give the electorate an idea of who the proposed persons are.

“There will be four aldermen for each district to be vote for and the pool from the aldermen will be different from those who put themselves for candidates.”

Persad-Bissessar said Parliament will resume on September 06th, 2013, when the bill will be debated. However, she explained that the draft legislation may be tabled as early as tomorrow as Government will like the legislation to be passed before the writ of election is issued.

“This measure will strengthen our democracy and give greater control to the electorate. This will also enhance citizen’s participation in local government,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The Prime Minister noted that the legislation to introduce proportional representation was ground breaking in the history of Trinidad and Tobago’s politics.

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