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Trinidad and Tobago elects first female prime minister

May 26, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Trinidad prime minister The tiny, twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has elected its first female prime minister, 59-year-old Kamla Persad-Bissessar. In an early election called by Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Persad-Bissessar's five-party coalition captured 29 of 41 seats in polling on Monday, while Manning's People's National Movement won 12 seats. It had previously held 26.

An attorney, Persad-Bissessar told boisterous supporters that no ethnic or class group would dominate in Trinidad and Tobago under her government. Manning's PNM has dominated politics in the country for a half-century, drawing most of its support from citizens of African descent.

Persad-Bissessar is of Indian descent, as is about 40% percent of the population in Trinidad and Tobago, according to the CIA World Factbook. About 37% of the nation's population is of African descent.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Prime Minister-elect Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday. Credit: Associated Press.