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Guyana - Election 2006

A lack of legal clarity over voter registration rules, in particular the legality of Guyanese remaining on the voter rolls after emigrating, fed a political stalemate that delayed the 2006 elections as opposition parties demanded a full house-to-house verification of the voter list. Ultimately, the election was held using the 2001 voting list--which the opposition had earlier deemed valid--plus new registrations.

In elections held on 28 August 2006, President Jagdeo was once again re-elected with an increased majority, although the voter turnout was much lower at 68%. The presidential candidates did not hold any public debates. The parties often resorted to mudslinging and name-calling. When they do turn to issues, crime/security and jobs are the main focus. The PPP/C's usual tactic was to compare statistics of how Guyana is faring now compared to pre-1992 during the PNC's 28-year reign. The opposition parties key on Guyana's economic stagnation, the PPP/C's corruption and its perceived ties to narco-criminality.

The People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won a landslide. With 338,839 total votes cast, the ruling PPP/C received 183,887 (54.6%) votes, the People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) 114,283 (34%), the Alliance for Change (AFC) 28,336 (8.4%), the Guyana Action Party- Rise Organize and Rebuild (GAP-ROAR) 4,249 (1%), and The United Force (TUF) 2,694 (.8%). Under the Largest Remaining Hare (LRH) formula for determining the distribution of seats in Parliament, the PPP will receive 36 seats, PNC 22 seats, AFC 5 seats, GAP-ROAR 1 seat, and TUF 1 seat. Although the PPP garnered a higher percentage of the vote this election (54.7%) versus the 2001 election, the actual number of votes received by the party fell by more than 25,000 (209,031 v. 183,887).

The elections attracted a good deal of international attention with election observers being sent from several international agencies including the UK. The Organization of American States and the Commonwealth observed the 2006 elections and considered them to be largely free and fair. Unlike the 2001 elections, when there was serious post-election violence, the 2006 elections passed off peacefully. In remarks prior to, and following, the election President Jagdeo promised to bring about Constitutional change and to foster an enhanced framework of political cooperation between parliamentary parties.

A general lack of trust between the predominantly Indo-Guyanese PPP/C and the almost exclusively Afro-Guyanese PNC/R persists. Co-founded prior to the 2006 parliamentary elections by disaffected members of the PPP/C and PNC/R, the Alliance For Change party attempted to bridge the political and racial divide, but held only five seats in Parliament and has gained minimal traction. Jagdeo's cabinet-which roughly mirrors Guyana's diverse ethnic makeup - was 30% Afro-Guyanese.

Guyana's political future depended on whether Jagdeo demands honesty and real governance reforms from his ministers-or just political fidelity. Due to constitutional term limits, President Jagdeo was ineligible to run for reelection again when his term concluded in 2011.

On 31 August 2006, the Guyana Elections Commission announced the final results of the elections. Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, the incumbent, of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic, was declared President as his party received an absolute majority of votes cast. Five political parties and/or alliances won representation in the 65-seat National Assembly, including the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (36 seats), the Peoples National Congress (21 seats), the Alliance for Change (5 seats), the Guyana Action Party/Rise, Organize and Rebuild Guyana (1 seat) and the United Force (1 seat). Some 69% of the 493.734 registered voters took part in the recent general and regional elections. The President was sworn in on Saturday, September 2.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:13:16 ZULU