Persad-Bissessar retains leadership of the Opposition UNC

Kamla Persad-Bissessar

PORT-OF-SPAIN , Trinidad – Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar has been retained as the political leader of the  opposition United National Congress (UNC) after her main challenger for the post, Vasant Bharath, a former trade minister, confirmed on Monday that he had conceded defeat.

“The gap is far too large,” Bharath told reporters, adding that he had no intention of legally challenging the outcome, despite raising concerns over the conduct of the internal polls.

UNC officials said that at least 17,000 supporters were eligible to cast ballots in the election, with Persad Bissessar, 68, gaining at least 15,000.

In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Persad Bissessar said that “the Star Team last night claimed victory in the UNC’s internal polls. There was a clear trend that the Star slate was going to win when the official results came in. Leadership challenger Vasanth Bharath conceded”.

This will be her third victory as leader of the party, having defeated its founding member, Basdeo Panday in 2010, becoming the first woman to head a major political party here.

She was the first woman to head a government here when she led the coalition People’s Partnership administration, which was defeated in 2015. Her political opponents have said that she has lost 11 elections, including two general elections since she has been at the helm of the party.