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Panday calls it a day

Published:Wednesday | April 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

Prime Minister Patrick Manning is predicting an "astounding" victory for the ruling People's National Movement (PNM), even as the opposition parties say the upcoming general elections provide them with the opportunity of putting the country back on track.

But while the PNM and the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) kicked off their respective campaigns on Monday night to win the election, the date for which Prime Minister Manning is yet to announce, one of the country's most colourful politicians has quietly brought an end to his 43-year political career.

Panday a no-show

Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, 77, failed to show up to file his nomination papers with the UNC to contest the Couva North constituency that he has represented for the past 34 years, even though his brother, Subhas and his daughter, Mickela, filed their nomination papers seeking re-election to the Parliament.

Panday, who lost the leadership of the UNC to Kamla Persad-Bissessar in January, has so far not given any reason for his decision to opt out of the race, but the UNC confirmed that it had received nomination papers from Panday's former press officer Sunil Ramjitsingh and the party's deputy political leader Dr Suruj Rambachan to contest the seat.