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Guyana - Election 2020

The 65 members of Guyana's National Assembly are elected using closed list proportional representation, with voters selecting parties rather than individual candidates. The leader of the single party or coalition that emerges with the most seats becomes president.

When the government of Guyana suffered a no-confidence vote in December 2018, the expectation was that the election would be called in March 2019, as stipulated by the three-month window in the country's constitution. But by September 2019, six months on from that deadline, neither the 'caretaker' government nor the Guyana election committee (GECOM) had named a new date, and doubts were growing as to whether it will be held before 2020.

The APNU+AFC saw its government collapse on December 21, 2018 in a 33 to 32 of no-confidence in Parliament. The Guyana Elections Commission, the opposition and the government are at odds over whether general elections could be held in 90 days by March 19 or 20 as a result of the National Assemblys passage of the no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018. This 90-day clock for holding general elections had been ticking since the December 21 vote, but the government had not recognized this, neither had the Guyana Elections Commission shown any sign of observing it.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo appeared poised to strike a compromise for elections to be held in July based on a claims and objections period for the voters list. The opposition and governing coalition as well as their election commissioners are at odds over whether a new list should be generated by house-to-house registration or the existing list should be refreshed by claims and objections.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is constitutionally required to be ready to conduct elections at any time within three months (90 days) of the 21 December 2018 passage of the No Confidence Motion in the National Assembly. The governing coalition and its elections commissioners have been clamouring for a fresh voters list to be generated by house-to-house registration to remove the dead and migrants. However, the opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) has accused GECOM of being complicit with government in frittering away the 90 days to deliberately delay general elections. GECOMs administration says once it gets the green-light, preparations can take 148 days, but house-to-house registration can take nine months.

The voters list was defective because it was bloated with dead persons and migrants. Three of the GECOM Commissioners said that a new list had to be prepared and that could take as much as 18 months. GECOMs administration said house-to-house registration would take nine months, while holding elections after a Claims and Objections period to refresh the existing list that expires on April 30, 2019 could take about 148 days during which polling day officials would be trained and sensitive election materials would be procured.

Voters in Guyana cast their ballots 02 March 2020 in a general election that will decide who will control the approaching oil boom in the country, one of the poorest in South America. President David Granger of the governing Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (ANPU-AFC) is trying to hold onto a razor-thin majority in parliament under pressure from the opposition People's Progressive Party (PPP) candidate Irfaan Ali. The ruling coalition gets much of its support from the Afro-Guyanese community, while the PPP is backed by the Indo-Guyanese population. The two main political parties shared a 33-32 split in the outgoing 65-seat National Assembly. Another nine smaller parties that sprung up within the last year also contested the election.





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Page last modified: 04-03-2020 14:13:43 ZULU