By Tony Fraser
December 16, 2009
Ramesh Maharaj is correct in saying that the outcome of the January internal elections of the United National Congress (UNC) will determine the future political prospects of the party. Indeed, to take that projection further along the road of rep-resentative politics, the out come will also determine the short-term political landscape of T&T. It is clear that if the UNC membership returns Basdeo Panday as its political leader, the party will be doomed to opposition. Moreover the UNC, as now configured, is sure to receive an ever-declining share of the number of votes and seats in the local and general elections up ahead.
Even before Panday’s legal difficulties and his thrashing in the last general election of 2007—both by the PNM and Dookeran’s Congress of the People, that party having been able to steal 148,000 votes from under Panday’s nose (and the qualification is made that not all the 148,000 came from the UNC base)—it was difficult for large clusters of voters from outside the UNC belt to support him as a national leader. That difficulty has been compounded since being tarnished by several yet-to-be-satisfactorily answered actions taken by Panday when he was Prime Minister.
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