Trinidad and Tobago

People’s National Movement

Published 22nd January, 2013

The People’s National Movement or PNM was founded in 1955 by Eric Williams. The party describes itself as Centre-left and believes in Liberalism and Social Liberalism.

In its first electoral outing the party won the general election of 1956 taking 13 of the 24 seats in the Legislative Council. This installed Eric Williams as Prime Minister, a post he held until his death in 1981.

The party went on to rule Trinidad and Tobago for 30 years, winning the elections in 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976 and 1981. In 1971 the PNM won every single of the 36 seats because of a boycott by opposition parties.

In 1986 the party suffered its first defeat in 30 years and its worst ever when it dropped to just three of 36 seats in the House of Representatives. But they were back in 1991, winning 21 of 36 seats, but following internal strife they dropped to 17 of 36 seats in 1995 and then 16 of 36 seats in 2000 leading to a short period in opposition.

In 2001 a cliff-hanger left the party with 18 of 36 seats but they were given the chance to govern and in 2002 a further election consolidated their hold by taking 20 of 36 seats. That increased to 26 of 41 seats in 2007 but a combined and determined opposition in 2010 saw the PNM hold on to just 12 seats.

Patrick Manning who had led the party since 1987 stood down after the 2010 election defeat and was replaced by Dr. Keith Rowley.

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