UNC internal elections today; will Paray’s UP “upstage” Kamla’s Stars?

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UNC internal elections today; will Paray’s UP “upstage” Kamla’s Stars?

All eyes will be on the hotly contested UNC interntal elections today, which will see the incumbent Stars slate facing off against Rushton Paray’s United Patriots team.

Thirty-five candidates will be fighting for 17 positions, however, attention will be heavily focused on the three deputy leader posts, where there are seven candidates—Roodal Moonilal, Jearlean John, David Lee (Star team), Rushton Paray, Dr Rai Ragbir, Anita Haynes-Alleyne (UPs) and Robert Amar (independent).

Opposition leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s post is not being contested. Her term will be up next year.

Polling will take place from 8 am-6 pm at 76 polling stations in the 41 constituencies at various primary and secondary schools and community centres.

Yesterday, Election Management Committee chairman Darrell Allahar said via a statement that counting of ballots will start at each polling station immediately after the close of the polls at 6 pm.

“As per the usual practice, the ballot boxes are opened at the start for inspection to ensure that they are empty. All candidates and their agents are allowed to be present at the count and all ballots are scrupulously accounted for,” he added.

“Candidates or their agents present at the count as well as the Presiding Officer must sign a Statement of Poll for each polling station showing the votes for each candidate, how many ballots were supplied to the polling station, how many ballots were found in the box, how many ballots were unused etc… This is along the lines of what obtains in EBC-managed national elections.”

Allahar added, “The EBC has been very kind to lend us their ballot boxes for use in these elections.

“After the count, the boxes are locked and are immediately returned to the committee along with the statements of the poll. The preliminary results will be announced only when all of the statements of the poll are received for every polling station. The committee, therefore, will not be announcing results from polling stations as they come in.

“Of course, candidates will also have copies of the statements from their agents once counts are concluded, and persons may unofficially comment on that information. Only the committee however can give an official announcement of preliminary results.”

Allahar’s statement didn’t give a figure for the number of voters for the election.

He stated, “Once again we wish to remind all that these elections are internal and a private exercise of democracy by the members of the party. We are unable to disclose the number of persons registered to vote without breaching our duty of confidentiality to members.

“Information officers will be at every polling station to assist members in finding their names on the list and where necessary, directing them to the venue they should cast their votes.”

Allahar asked the media to respect members’ privacy and refrain from entering the premises of polling venues or interviewing people waiting to vote.

“This isn’t a national election. That is as much as we are prepared to say,” he added.

The deadline for recounts is noon tomorrow. Final results will be given on Friday.