Guyana - Political Parties - 2006
Nomination Day went off with hardly a hitch 26 July 2006. Eleven parties appeared at Georgetown's City Hall to present their candidate lists for Guyana's August 28 national and regional elections, much fewer than the thirty-plus parties that had attended Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) preparatory meetings.
People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)
Presidential candidate: Bharrat Jagdeo
Prime Minister candidate: Samuel Hinds
Seats won in 2001: 34
Rumors abound that current PM Hinds, despite being named as Prime Ministerial candidate, did not intend to continue in the government, preferring assignment as Ambassador to Ottawa. One rumored successor, Geology and Mines Commissioner Robeson Benn, appeared on the candidate list. Moses Nagamootoo, a charismatic and well-liked PPP veteran who publicly split with the party in 2005, has returned to the fold and appears on the list. Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh, who recently received emergency medical treatment in the U.S., is not on the list. Nor is 85 year-old PPP co-founder and former President Janet Jagan.
One Guyana People's National Congress Reform (OG/PNCR)
Presidential candidate: Robert Corbin
Seats won in 2001: 27
Corbin was leading a party with an image problem and little time to correct it before elections. The ungainly OG/PNCR acronym made its first appearance on Nomination Day. The PNCR had been scrambling to decide just who would join their camp to contest elections. The "One Guyana" part of the platform includes the small National Front Alliance party (received 0.1 percent of the vote in 2001), unnamed unions, and unnamed civic organizations. It seemed unlikely that this amalgamation will boost the PNCR's appeal at the ballot box. What the PNCR could still boast is a core of fervent supporters, as evidenced when they broke through the security gate and filled City Hall's courtyard just before the six o'clock deadline for submitting candidate lists. This is the same time that large PNCR groups have been known to rush polling stations demanding to vote just before closing on election day. The symmetry was not lost on Guyanese who observed the scene.
Alliance For Change (AFC)
Presidential candidate: Raphael Trotman
Prime Minister candidate: Khemraj Ramjattan
Seats won in 2001: n/a
The seven-month old AFC's candidate list, tilted to youth and unproven politicians below the three co-leaders, did not contain any big surprises. Some expected to see high-profile defectors from other parties on the list.
Justice For All Party (JFAP)
Presidential candidate: C. N. Sharma
Prime Minister candidate: Geoffrey Sankies
Seats won in 2001: 0
TV-station owner and muckraking newsman Sharma is one of Guyana's most recognizable and popular figures. Although the elite disparage his Creolese dialect, poorer Guyanese gravitate to his man-of-the-people demeanor. Sharma thought he had won a National Assembly seat in 2001 but a recalculation showed he lost it by only a few votes. The GoG took Sharma's TV channel off the air during the January 2005 floods because it deemed his news broadcasts too critical of the government's response to the disaster.
Guyana Action Party/Rise Organize And Rebuild (GAP/ROAR)
Presidential candidate: Paul Hardy, GAP leader
Prime Minister candidate: Ravi Dev, ROAR leader
Seats won in 2001: GAP/WPA 2, ROAR 1
GAP and ROAR are all that remain of the "big tent" concept for a coalition of smaller opposition parties to run together. Hardy's constituency is among the Amerindian communities in Guyana's hinterland. Dev draws his support from rural Indo-Guyanese.
The United Force (TUF)
Presidential candidate: Manzoor Nadir
Prime Minister candidate: Michael Abraham
Seats won in 2001: 1
Nadir is Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce in the PPP/C government, but contested the election independently.
A few small parties that had been expected to run have pulled out of the election. The Working People's Alliance (WPA) announced July 25 that it would boycott the elections. The party joined forces with GAP in 2001 and won two seats. The WPA was an instrumental part of the Marxist anti-PNC government movement in the 1970s and 1980s, but had become less relevant in recent years, too academic, and its constituency has dwindled -- it may not be back. Neither the Unity Party (led by Joey Jagan, son of former President and PPP leader Cheddi Jagan) nor Amcit businessman Peter Ramsaroop's Vision Guyana -- one-man outfits that failed to latch onto a coalition -- contested the 2006 election.
In the 2006 election, 68.7% of Indians voted for the PPP/C while only 3.7% of Blacks voted for that party. Alternatively, the PNC is the preferred political party of Black citizens; 75.1% of Blacks voted for this party, whereas only 1.7% of Indians voted for the PNC. Therefore, it appears that the two main ethnic groups in Guyana have very different party preferences. Finally, the AFC gathers votes from all ethnic groups, mainly from Mixed-race citizens (39.6%) and the Black population (31.7%).
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