The internal elections of the United National Congress (UNC) will be held on June 26, political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced on Saturday.
“Yesterday (Friday), the UNC executive met pursuant to section 12 (V) of our constitution and has decided, and I asked for ratification at this conference, that the UNC internal election be held on June 26, 2022.
“Nominations form will be available forms May 25 and after these elections we will continue to work to strengthen our party. We will work to bring on the constituency elections, women’s arm and the youth arm,” she said at the party’s joint parliamentary arm and national congress meeting at the Couva South Multipurpose Hall, Camden, Couva on Saturday afternoon.
The internal election was due in November, according to the UNC’s constitution.
She said the date was brought up so that the party can begin preparations for the local government elections scheduled for later this year.
Persad-Bissessar said she was not concerned or troubled that the upcoming internal elections could see conflict internally, nor was she aware of the speculations that she would be unopposed.
She also said, if successful, the intention was to lead the party into the next general election which is due in 2025.
“I am not worried. Our party is very strong and united, and it is the democratic thing to do so we will hold those elections. I have no fear whatsoever.
“Only when the nominations are closed, we will know who is contesting. Everyone has a right and an opportunity to put in a nomination, whether now or down the road.”
Asked whether anyone in the party was being specifically groomed to take over her role, Persad-Bissessar said, “No, I cannot do that.”
Persad-Bissessar was elected UNC leader on January 24, 2010, when she ousted UNC founder and former prime minister Basdeo Panday from that post.
Newsday asked Oropouche East Dr Roodal Moonilal if he had intentions of contesting the internal elections, to which he said no.
Earlier in March, he said he was not ruling out the possibility of challenging Persad-Bissessar for the leadership position, nor did he confirm if he would be a part of Persad-Bissessar’s slate or another.
In December 2015, Moonilal challenged Persad-Bissessar for the leadership role but was unsuccessful.