Political scientist says UNC-NTA seat splitting strategy could work in PNM’s favor

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Political scientist says UNC-NTA seat splitting strategy could work in PNM’s favor

Political scientist Professor Hamid Ghany is seeing some trouble with the coalition arrangement formed between the United National Congress and the National Transformation Alliance.

Speaking on CNC 3 on Tuesday night, Ghany said while the two parties are not contesting against each other on the ground in respect of councillors, their aldermen will be.

Both the UNC’s Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the NTA’s Gary Griffith announced the alliance on Monday, to contest the August 14 Local Government Elections.
They stated that where the NTA puts forward a candidate, the UNC will not, and vice versa.

However, Ghany said what is likely to happen is that the number of votes that they can earn, for the calculation of aldermen could be diminished.

He said fighting alone, the UNC was able to win an alderman post in Arima in 2019, despite losing all seven seats there. But by teaming up with the NTA, it is now a split between the NTA and the UNC because of the way aldermen are chosen.

Aldermen are chosen after the votes are counted for the councillors on election night. Then all of the votes that have been cast in that corporation for all of the parties that contested are counted and a proportional representation formula is used to decide how many of the four aldermen each of the parties will then take.

Ghany said by having a seat-splitting arrangement, it diminishes the actual number of votes that the NTA and the UNC can earn towards the allocation of aldermen. This can give the PNM the edge.

“Where there is a seat share arrangement between them, it’s going to diminish the number of votes they can get for aldermen, and the PNM is going to have an edge in those circumstances,” Prof Ghany explained.