Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Election Primer A - Z: 'N' is for No-Confidence

With the recent aborted no-confidence motion and his subsequent decision to put his mandate to a national vote, Prime Minister Manning has created more questions than answers. Why would anyone with an eleven vote advantage in the lower house seek to pre-empt any such attempt by risking that advantage still has political pundits scratching their heads. But then again there is little that PM Manning does that can be considered conventional, rational or intentional. Perhaps it is that Mr Manning has a better view of the 'end-game' than anyone else - and if so it would be testimony to his near four decade career in the lower house. Or is Mr Manning the beneficiary of some divine ordination or advice.

Is it that Patos got wind of a possible palace coup that would have led to his removal as PM? This assertion is not as far fetched as it may seem. From where I sit, the PMs chess game failed when he decided to start the screening process
before the motion had had its day in Parliament. And in so doing, had telegraphed his intention to remove as many as six MPs from his roster in an upcoming election. (a swing of six would have resulted in the motion being passed). A defeat in parliament in April would have hypothetically saved the nation the expense and hassle of an election, and his party the ignominy of a mid-term loss at the polls. (Question: Would the PNM be facing such a serious threat were Dr Rowley in charge at this time?)

And of course there are the questions of the timing of his decision to call an election. The PM maintains that he had a date in mind since last October and wished to benefit from the element of surprise. Coincidentally, news of a probe into the Hart Issue has a similar date of origin. As for the element of surprise - why wait for ten days after the dissolution of parliament? And more importantly, will the gift those additional ten days prove to be the difference in the end for the People's Partnership should they hold on to win come May 24?

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