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Prime Minister Elected for Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago gets a new prime minister two weeks after general elections. Patrick Manning is, once again, prime minister of the twin-island Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago.

His appointment, announced Monday evening, December 24, by President Ray Robinson, ended two weeks of suspense and political uncertainty following the December 10 general elections which ended in an 18-18 seat deadlock between the two major parties.

The 55-year-old Mr. Manning, who is political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM), was prime minister from 1991 to 1995. For the past six years he was leader of the opposition.

In his ten-minute nationwide radio and television address, Mr. Robinson said, "My decision is that the mantle should now be handed over to Mr Patrick Manning, and I have appointed him as prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago."

Mr. Robinson said the results of the elections placed a great burden on him but he had a duty under the constitution. "There is bound to be disappointment on the one side," he declared, and added, quote, "A decision has to be made in the national interest, and when that responsibility falls upon my shoulders, I cannot shirk that responsibility." He went on, "I have not done so in the past, even at the risk of my own life. I did not think I should do so now."

Mr. Robinson complimented both Mr. Manning and the outgoing Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, on their "limited agreement" reached after several days of talks to abide by the president's choice of prime minister.