People's National Movement
The People's National Movement (PNM) is the longest-serving and oldest active political party in Trinidad and Tobago. The party has dominated national and local politics for much of Trinidad and Tobago's history, contesting all elections since 1956 serving as the nation's governing party or on four occasions, the main opposition. As a result, it has sometimes been referred to as one of Trinidad and Tobago's "main political party". There have been four PNM Prime Ministers and multiple ministries. The party espouses the principles of liberalism and generally sits at the centre to centre-left of the political spectrum.
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The party was founded in 1955 by Eric Williams, who took inspiration from Norman Manley's democratic socialist centre-left People's National Party in Jamaica. It won the 1956 General Elections and went on to hold power for an unbroken 30 years. After the death of Williams in 1981, George Chambers led the party. The party was defeated in the 1986 General Elections, losing 33–3 to the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). Under the leadership of Patrick Manning, the party returned to power in 1991 following the 1990 attempted coup by the Jamaat al-Muslimeen, but lost power in 1995 to the United National Congress (UNC). The PNM lost again to the UNC in the 2000 General Elections, but a split in the UNC forced new elections in 2001. These elections resulted in an 18–18 tie between the PNM and the UNC, and President Arthur N. R. Robinson appointed Manning as Prime Minister. Manning was unable to elect a Speaker of the House of Representatives, but won an outright majority in new elections held in 2002 and again in 2007, before losing power in 2010. It returned to power in the 2015 general election under Keith Rowley where it had its best result since the 1981 general election, winning 51.7 percent of the popular vote and 23 of the 41 seats. In the 2020 general election, they won the popular vote and a majority in the House of Representatives, winning 22 seats.
The party symbol is the balisier flower (Heliconia bihai) and the Party's political headquarters is known as the "Balisier House" located in Port of Spain. Historically, the PNM has been supported by a majority of Afro-Trinidadian and Tobagonians and the Creole-Mulatto population, thus it is colloquially called the Black Party or the African Party.The PNM was also historically supported by different minorities such as Indian Christians and Muslims. The PNM has its strongest support in cities and urban areas, especially in the northern and southwestern part of Trinidad.
The PNM's signature policies and legislative decisions include independence, writing the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, republicanism, the establishment of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Public Transport Service Corporation, the Water Taxi Service, universal preschool, primary and secondary education, universal health care, criminalizing child marriage and decriminalizing cannabis. In government since the 2015 general election, the party holds an overall majority of 22 out of 41 Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives and 16 out of 31 members of the Senate. The party has 72 out of the 139 local councillors and is in control of seven of the 14 regional corporations since the 2019 Trinidadian local elections. The party also has 6 out of 12 assembly members in the Tobago House of Assembly since the 2021 Tobago House of Assembly elections.
Despite not being a socialist party, the PNM was a member of the democratic socialist West Indies Federal Labour Party in the Federal Parliament of the West Indies Federation from 1957 to 1962. The party includes a semi-autonomous Tobagonian branch known as the Tobago Council of the People's National Movement. As of September 2018, the PNM has 100,000+ registered members.