GECOM still to deliver official election results
Despite promising that the election results would have been announced on Tuesday evening, and at the latest, this morning, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) continues to remain iffy on a definite day for the announcement of the highly-anticipated information.
Despite the growing anxiety among the populace, GECOM’s Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally said that the Commission was still awaiting more Statements of Poll (SoPs) while those in its possession were being processed.
GECOM had assured that it will ensure that the results of the General and Regional Elections are released in the soonest possible time. Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had said provided that all went well on Election Day, the elections body would have tried to have the results available by Tuesday evening or by this morning.
On Monday morning, a media notice was sent out promising that GECOM will be announcing to the media Tuesday at 11:00h (at a press conference), the first set of Preliminary Results. However, as media operatives eagerly awaited the results, they were merely greeted with the information that the elections body had received more than 1500 official SoPs from various parts of the country, but could not produce any preliminary results 18 hours after the polls had closed on May 11.
Dr Surujbally’s statement was substantiated by the Chief Elections Officer, who said he was still awaiting the SoPs from Regions One, Seven and Eight, while several SoPs of the other regions had to be returned for corrections and checks as the Representation of the People Act dictated.
However, at another press conference which was called at 18:00h, GECOM said that the legal requirements stipulated under the Representation of the People Act, coupled with the wet conditions and other factors in the hinterland regions, were the reasons the results were being delayed.
According to Lowenfield, when a SoP is brought to GECOM, it is thoroughly checked for errors and discrepancies so as to ensure that there is no compromise or loss of integrity in the process. Lowenfield said that if it is found that a SoP has an error, whatever it may be, the Representation of the People Act demands that the SOP be returned to the Presiding Officer at the polling station from which the data was derived. It was on this note that he admitted that several errors were discovered and as such, these had to be returned. Lowenfield explained that this was a long and drawn-out process; hence, adding delays in the release of results.
Thus far, however, after almost 24 hours (up to press time), Lowenfield said that 279 SoPs were fully processed by the body. These were not confined to one area but were drawn from Regions Three, Four, Five, Six and 10. As it currently stands, the figures released by GECOM to the media indicate that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition was leading, followed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
The coalition had a lead in the largely two party-race, with some 6797 votes more than the PPP/C in the General Elections and 4059 votes in the Regional Elections out of 29,000 counted votes. The Chief Elections Officer promised that by midday today, more results would be forthcoming since the other SoPs would have reached GECOM by then. Dr Surujbally maintained that the body was ensuring that the results are credible and would not sacrifice accuracy for expediency.
When questioned on the time taken by the elections body to provide the results of the elections when compared to other nations across the world, in the 21st Century, Dr Surujbally said he would like to see a change made in the next elections by having electronic systems in place.
“We cannot continue to remain with Jurassic methodologies … we cannot continue this way… we have, in the past, recommended that this system be changed,” he noted.
He urged citizens to remain patient, explaining that GECOM has to follow the law and ensure that the integrity of the results is maintained and the systems followed to ensure accuracy before dispatch.
PPP/C condemns coalition’s declaration of results
Less than an hour after the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition declared that it won the 2015 General and Regional Elections based on the data received, it came in for major condemnation by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
According to the PPP/C, this reckless act on the part of the coalition could result in civil unrest, if the results are not in its favour.
APNU/AFC Presidential Candidate David Granger had told the press that based on data gathered from 2025 Statements of Polls (SOPs), which represents 88 per cent of all votes, the coalition was in the lead with some 182,176 votes while the PPP/C secured some 157,947 votes – a difference of 24,229.
But while addressing the press at Freedom House in the presence of the PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate Elisabeth Harper and PPP/C Candidate, Dr Frank Anthony, Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar said APNU/AFC’s proclamation was simply malicious, emphasising that only the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has the power to declare a winner.
“Our Party views this action by the Opposition as reckless and a wanton demonstration of disregard of the related consequences which can lead to instability. This is clearly a continuous trend by the Opposition to compromise the integrity of the May 11 elections.”
He said the APNU/AFC coalition issued its declaration, although GECOM has continuously warned against such acts. Ramotar said although the PPP/C has its own tally based on the SOPs, it refused to make a declaration.
“We have shown tremendous restraint in this regard and continue to respect and abide by the conditions set out by GECOM. We believe that this is the most responsible action to be taken during this sensitive period. While we remain optimistic of continuing in office, our Party has always demonstrated a sense of responsibility with regard to Guyana and Guyanese.”
However, Ramotar said while the PPP/C will not declare victory ahead of GECOM’s official announcement, based on statistical data garnered, the Party at the time of the press conference was leading by some 30, 000 votes.
It was explained that from a total of 2213 SOPs processed by the ruling party, figures suggest that it is in the lead with some 182,662 votes, while the APNU/AFC was lagging behind with some 151,095 votes.
“We have won Regions One, Two, Three, Five, Six, not clear where Region Eight is as yet, but we have won Region Nine. We have won clearly six regions,” the President further pointed out.
Though confident that the PPP/C will return to Government, Ramotar stressed that he would not declare victory, noting that had it not been for the APNU/AFC’s pronouncement, PPP/C would not have disclosed its figures. “I just wanted to clear the air…,” he added.
Nevertheless, based on the view that the Opposition has acted irresponsibly by declaring a win, the PPP/C has called on GECOM and the international observers present to condemn the move. President Ramotar reiterated that the “irresponsible declaration creates a dangerous situation given that GECOM is yet to announce the official results. We believe that this latest reckless action by the Opposition is in keeping with their plan to build false hopes in the minds of their supporters.”