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PNM Returns to Power in Trinidad and Tobago

Prime Minister Patrick Manning's People's National Movement has been returned to power in Monday's general elections in Trinidad and Tobago. According to preliminary returns, the People's National Movement captured 20 of the 36 parliament seats that were at stake. The party will form the government of this twin-island Caribbean state for up to the next five years.

The United National Congress, led by former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, won 16 seats.

In a victory speech early Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Manning called for a political healing in the country. Charges of corruption were the main issues in the fiercely contested election. Speaking to his party's supporters, Mr. Manning credited voter mobilization with his victory.

On the losing side, Mr. Panday stressed the need for constitutional reform. He says the election results will not go toward solving the problems of racially-divided Trinidad & Tobago. However, he pledged to work for a government of national unity.

Some 65 percent of the 875,000 eligible voters cast ballots.

It was the third election in as many years. The two previous ones produced inconclusive results, triggering a constitutional crisis that led to instability in this oil-and-gas-rich Caribbean state.