PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday June 30, 2014, CMC – Prakash Ramadhar held onto the reigns of leadership of the Congress of the People (COP), with just over 55 per cent of the votes in Sunday’s internal party election.
Ramadhar gained 1,473 votes while his closest contender Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, got 1,030 votes.
The other candidates in the race for leadership were Dr Lincoln Douglas who got 162 votes, and despite announcing his withdrawal from the race last Thursday, Rufus Foster got four votes.
Shortly after the results were announced Ramadhar said the party will hit the ground running, with a return to its street talk public forum and efforts to strengthen the COP’s position with the ruling People’s Partnership coalition.
The COP holds six seats among the 42 representatives in the legislature of the twin island state.
Ramadhar won the party’s leadership election in 2011 with 3,338 votes. His closest competitor then was Anil Roberts who received 1,026 votes.
Some COP members had reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with Ramadhar’s leadership and called for the return of former COP leader, Winston Dookeran.
In addressing supporters, Ramadhar said the party will likely engage in some healing and team-building exercises, though he did not feel any of the wounds inflicted on the party during the internal election were severe.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has congratulated the COP leader on his victory.
“Today, the COP’s peaceful democratic exercise has consolidated the belief of all partners of the People’s Partnership and indeed all citizens who looked on with interest, in standing together and providing a strong, compassionate leadership that listens.
She added, “I trust that the COP will now put aside any differences that may have come about during the campaign so that we can all continue working towards a successful completion of our first term as the People’s Partnership and a strong campaign for re-election in 2015”.