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GUYANA | GECOM not prepared for March election

Featured GECOM Chairman Retired Justice James Patterson GECOM Chairman Retired Justice James Patterson
GEORGETOWN,  Guyana, Feb 20, 2019 - The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has advised the government that  it cannot hold elections within the 90 days period as stipulated in the Constitution following the passage of a motion of no confidence in the government.

Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday voted by majority to go ahead with house-to-house registration and to ask government for money to fund general elections afterwards, the commissioners said.

GECOM Chairman Retired Justice James Patterson voted in favour of  a fresh voters’ list in order to remove the names of deceased and migrants. His vote broke the 3-3 tie in favour of house-to-house registration which can take up to nine months.

Governing coalition elections commissioner, Vincent Alexander said the President would also be informed that GECOM needs the National Assembly to approve additional funds to hold general elections and “GECOM would continue its routine plan for 2019.”

“What GECOM has said is that it is not in a state of readiness to run an election in 90 days as a matter of fact, and based on advice that we got from the Ministry of Finance, we do not have the resources, the money, to run the elections.

“They indicated that we cannot use the money for national registration and move it over to elections. What we have to do is go back to the National Assembly for a special appropriation for elections. We don’t have an appropriation for elections. It is not in the 2019 budget,” said Commissioner Alexander.

Last December, the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) successfully tabled a motion of no-confidence against the David Granger led coalition government and has been calling for the regional and general elections to be held on March 19 in keeping with the Constitution.

But the government has appealed the High Court motion that ruled that the motion was valid. The High Court also refused to grant a conservatory order that would have halted the countdown to the polls.

The Guyana Constitution calls for elections to be held within 90 days after the passage of the motion or at a time agreed to by two-thirds of the National Assembly.

Earlier this month, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, said GECOM would not have been able to hold the elections in March and said it could most likely take place in July.

  • Countries: Guyana

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