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Ramotar to announce Guyana’s election date early next year

Featured Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar
GEORGETOWN, Guyana December 6, '14- Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar said on Saturday he would call early elections in the New Year, putting paid to local and international calls for him to lift the suspension of Parliament.

It is expected that elections will be held before the April 30 deadline for the passage of a National Budget.

Addressing members of the media at State House, President Ramotar said he opted to call fresh elections after Opposition Leader David Granger formally refused an invitation to hold talks to resolve a number of burning issues.

"I have considered and I have consulted and this is my resolve. We will go to elections. I have also since written to the international community alerting them to the possibility of early elections and the desire for them to field observer missions," he said.

Ramotar declined to say when he would announce the date, saying that it was “quite likely”, “quite possibly” and “quite likely” that an announcement would be made before the 2015 Budget, during his New Year’s address or before Republic Day Mashramani celebrations on February 23, 2015. "Early in the New Year I intend to announce further steps towards the direction and regional elections in Guyana," he said.

The President said that in the coming weeks he would be consulting the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) about its readiness for holding election at the more than 2,000 polling stations across the 83,000 square mile country.

Ramotar said he decided not to announce the date Saturday, because he did not want to affect the Christmas Season. "We will not disrupt and dampen the Christmas Season with the evident purpose-less parliamentary debates."

The President had suspended Parliament on November 10, 2014, the same day that the AFC and APNU had planned to use their combined one-seat majority to pass a no-confidence motion in government and lead to elections in 90 days.

Prorogation of the Parliament gives the President’s People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration six months from November 10 within which to call elections.

The AFC had moved a no-confidence motion against the President, citing lavish spending on a number of projects and programmes that had not been approved by the National Assembly. They also cited the refusal to set up the constitutionally required Public Procurement Commission and Ramotar's refusal to accept Bills that have been approved by the Opposition.

For its part, government has failed to secure the opposition's support for the passage of internationally required amendments to the 2009 Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism Act; a funding mechanism for the almost US$1 billion Amaila Falls Hydro power plant; and financing for the upgrade of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

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