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Whipped COP, ILP planning to rebuild

Trinidad Express / Although they got a sound beating at the local government election, the political leaders of the Congress of the People (COP) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) have declared that the battle was lost but they are rebuilding for the war. In the 2013 local government elections, both the ILP and the COP were able to attract voters. At that election the People’s National Movement (PNM) received 188,393 votes; the United National Congress (UNC) 122,346 and the ILP 102,918. The COP received 32,496 votes. At Monday’s election, the ILP contested only seats in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation while the COP fielded nine candidates at different corporations. Both parties were annihilated with the ILP receiving a total of 149 votes, according to the unofficial count and the COP some 317 votes. But, the leaders of the two parties have vowed to make a comeback and woo the electorate who they both said are disenchanted with the UNC and PNM. COP political leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir said the COP was “very disappointed” with the results as the COP candidates were really led to believe by residents in the areas they campaigned that they will do well. “Politics is what it is. We have not won and yes we are disappointed but I think one has to put that in the context with the ridiculously low voter turnout,” said Mahabir. He said the fact that majority of the electorate did not vote says the people are unhappy with the politics, the political system and the parties. “We need to find out why it is the public is not willing to participate in their own future,” he said. “From our point of view, we would like to think that they are unhappy with both the UNC and the PNM and they are looking for something which is not around at the moment,” he said. The COP, he said, is the “third force” that has to strategise to form itself into delivering what the people want. ILP leader disappointed In 2013, most the ILP votes were garnered in the UNC heartland. It received 38,993 votes in corporations along the East-West Corridor and the two southern municipalities, San Fernando and Point Fortin corporations. The rest of the ILP votes came from the corporations located in Central Trinidad. In 2013, the party successfully won a seat in Chaguanas creating the deadlock between the UNC and the PNM. The then ILP councillor Faaiq Mohammed crossed over to the UNC giving the party control. Although the ILP focused all its attention in Chaguanas, its appeal was lost. ILP political leader Rekha Ramjit said the results were “extremely disappointing” and dismal. The lower voter turnout, she said, is an indication that the population has a difficulty with the UNC and the PNM and as a result of that, they withheld their votes. “The ILP as well as the other third parties as we call ourselves were unable to excite the voters sufficient so they can get up and get up and vote,” she said. She added that while the UNC and PNM and are claiming victories, it is not. “When you fail to excite the imagination of 80 per cent of the population, that can never be success. The ILP also failed in that we were unable to move them from that position of apathy to one where they will get up and vote for another party. “Obviously, we did not present what it is they wanted or what they want to see in a party that is ready for governance so we have our work cut out for us,” she said.

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