PORT-OF-SPAIN: Keith Rowley won the internal election of the main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) on Sunday as the party gears itself for a possible return to power in Trinidad &Tobago following its heavy defeat in 2010.
Rowley, who had been appointed political leader after the PNM lost 29-12 in the May 24, 2010 general election, had called the new internal poll, revamping the old system of the leader being elected by party delegates, introducing a one-man, one-vote system.
As of press time, at least 30 per cent of the 81,000 party members eligible to cast ballots had done so during the polling with Rowley receiving the majority of the votes.
PNM elections commission vice chairman Murchison Browne said Rowley was leading in 11 constituencies and had 95 per cent of the votes cast.
His challenger, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson said the polls suggest a victory for Rowley and conceded defeat.
“I congratulate him,” she said.
However, Beckles-Robinson said that the party was not prepared for the new voting system.
“We simply were not ready for this one man, one vote, it is a task of being ready for 81,000 members,” she said.
Rowley was pleased with the results and was glade there was not much acrimony while campaigning.
“It appears as though we are going in the right direction,” he said. “Healing is only required where there are wounds and sores. The PNM does not carry wounds or sores. We walk with a spring in our step and we look forward to the days ahead when we engage the general election issues.”
Rowley said the PNM, is “very energised” by the internal elections.
“We set ourselves a target of reflecting on our past and resurging at the appropriate time and there has been a resurgence,” he said. “It gives the lie to the statement that people are not interested in the political process. We had four months of campaigning and I think the party is a lot stronger than when we started out.”