Trinidad and Tobago elected a new president Friday despite fears that her links to the governing People’s National Movement would compromise her independence.
Former Senate President and ex PNM government minister Christine Kangaloo was Friday afternoon elected as the seventh ceremonial president of the southern Caribbean twin island federation thanks to a majority vote from PNM house and senate lawmakers.
Attorney Kangaloo will replace former Caribbean judge Paula Mae Weekes as the country’s titular head. Weeks had long indicated that she would serve only a single term, paving the way for Prime Minister Keith Rowley to nominate her despite opposition and civil society calls for a person not linked to any major party to hold the position.
Kangaloo picked up 48 votes to opposition nominee and respected Attorney Israel Raja Khan, reflecting a straight party line vote from the Electoral College. There were three spoiled ballots.
The PNM had 23 house votes and 16 from senate, easily deleting the very outspoken Khan. Ballots were secretly cast.
PM Rowley had resisted calls to dump Kangaloo because of her deep and abiding PNM links as he pointed to former Prime Minister Ray Robinson being elected with opposition PNM votes despite the fact that he was a head of government and partisan politician.
President elected Kangaloo will be sworn in this week.