An election for a new president of Trinidad and Tobago the is scheduled to be held on January 20.
The date was confirmed by a notice in the TT Gazette dated December 23.
The president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the head of state of Trinidad and Tobago and the commander-in-chief of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1976, before which the head of state was the queen.
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The last governor-general, Sir Ellis Clarke, was sworn in as the first president on August 1, 1976, under a transitional arrangement. He was formally chosen as president by an electoral college consisting of members of both houses of Parliament on September 24, 1976, which is now celebrated as Republic Day.
Under the 1976 constitution, the president is the nominal source of executive power. Like the British sovereign (and heads of state in other Westminster systems), the president “reigns but does not rule”. In practice, executive authority is exercised by the prime minister and his or her cabinet, on behalf of the president. The president appoints as prime minister the leader of the largest party in the House of Representatives, and also appoints members of the Senate on the recommendation of the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition.
The president must be at least 35 years old (although no president has been younger than 59), a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, and at the time of nomination must have been resident in the country for an unbroken period of ten years.
The current president Paula Mae Weekes took office on March 19, 2018.
At that time, she was the only nominated candidate and was elected without need for a vote, becoming the first woman in the country’s history, to hold the title, President.
She is the country’s sixth president.
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