THE United National Congress (UNC) has full confidence in its leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and sees no reason for her to resign after the party's 22-19 defeat in Monday's general election.
UNC public relations officer and Tabaquite MP-elect Anita Haynes made these points at a news conference at the M Rampersad Building in San Fernando to announce that the UNC was challenging the results in five seats.
After being told of the resignations of Progressive Empowerment Party leader Phillip Edward Alexander and DPTT leader Steve Alvarez after losing the election, Haynes said nevertheless there is no reason for Persad-Bissessar to resign.
Persad-Bissessar was party leader when the UNC lost the 2015 general election, but retained her position.
Haynes said the UNC has full confidence in Persad-Bissessar and this includes all 18 MPs-elect.
She also said Persad-Bissessar's future as UNC leader does not hinge on the results of the recounts going in the party's favour.
"The UNC has very clear internal processes in terms of how our leadership is chosen," she said.
She recalled that Persad-Bissessar was elected "with a very huge mandate." She added, "When our elections are due, we will have elections. But until then, the question of leadership does not arise in the UNC. We have full confidence in the political leader of the UNC.'
Persad-Bissessar's tenure as UNC leader expires in 2021. Party general secretary Dave Tancoo said the UNC has no scheduled internal elections this year. Haynes added that other leadership posts will be determined after the political leader's post in 2021.
Reiterating Persad-Bissessar's announcement on Monday that the UNC was not conceding defeat in the election and wanted a recount in certain seats, Haynes said recounts were being sought for San Fernando West, Toco/Sangre Grande, St Joseph, La Horquetta/Talparo and Tunapuna.
Haynes said the recounts in San Fernando West, Toco/Sangre Grande and St Joseph were scheduled to begin from 3 pm on Tuesday. The recounts for Tunapuna and La Horquetta/Talparo would begin on Wednesday.
Asked if the UNC would consider legal action if the recounts resulted in the PNM holding all five seats, Haynes replied, "We are at the point right now of the recount in these five seats.
"The recounts exist in our system for a reason and we're going to utilise them."
Recalling the UNC had asked for Caricom and Commonwealth observers for the election, Haynes said it deployed legal teams to the 39 seats it contested in the election to record any irregularities, and these will be listed and provided to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Haynes said the UNC was not questioning the ability of the EBC to oversee free and fair elections.
The UNC will do a post-mortem on the election and prepare its new MPs-elect for Parliament.