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GUYANA | GECOM says November is earliest date for elections

Featured President David Granger President David Granger
GEORGETOWN,  Guyana, March 19, 2019 - President David Granger has been advised by Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman James Patterson, that the closest possible date for national elections will be in November following completion of the house-to-house registration process.

In a letter to President Granger today, GECOM's Chairman said  “In consideration of... the removal of the external impediments, and based on the advice I have been given by the Chief Elections Officer, I would proffer that the Commission would be in a position to conduct general and regional elections no earlier than late November 2019 with an official list of electors having a qualifying date of 31st October, 2019.”

In addition, the GECOM Chairman wants the President to provide GYD$3.5 billion to conduct the general elections and 10 regional council elections later this year, as the existing funds are to be used for house-to-house registration.

Patterson said originally, the house-to-house registration process would have concluded in February 2020, but “based on suggestions emanating from the Commission and in my direct engagement with the Secretariat,..a significant increase in the allocated resources for that exercise and an adjustment in the management arrangements for some procurement activities” that projected finish-date could be brought forward by two months” – that would be December 2019.

However, opposition People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) elections commissioners are not happy with the recommendation from the Chief Elections Officer, noting that said such a process is not grounded in law or policy.

PPP elections commissioner Sase Gunraj told a news conference today that said house-to-house registration is not provided for in any law or written policy. “It is not something that is based on any law or policy.”

Gunraj has threatened that action would be taken by the opposition PPP. “We will not telegraph our options because the element of surprise is necessary.”

Another PPP elections commissioner Robeson Benn said he and his colleague PPP commissioners were surprised by the letter because no decision had been taken by the elections body to write to the President.

The PPP is maintaining that General and Regional Elections could have been held within the 90-day period following the December 21 no-confidence motion as provided for in the constitution, and has accused GECOM and the government of conspiring to delay the elections.

The President however, has maintained that he can only call elections when GECOM says the body is in a position to do so. The Commission and the coalition have cited the need for house-to-house registration to remove the names of emigrants and deceased persons from the voters list.

  • Countries: Guyana

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