El bloque opositor de la Alianza por el Cambio y Alianza para la Unidad Nacional (APNU+AFC) ganó las elecciones de Guyana y rompió con 23 años de mandato del Partido Progresista del Pueblo (PPP).
Al ofrecer el tercer informe parcial del sufragio, la Comisión Electoral (Gecom, por sus siglas en inglés) precisó que la coalición conquistó 206 mil 817 votos, mientras el oficialismo recibió 201 457.
Esa entidad prevé divulgar las cifras finales en las últimas horas.
La APNU+AFC encabezó desde un inicio el escrutinio con estrecho margen, pero el PPP pidió ayer el recuento completo de todas las papeleas depositadas durante los comicios generales y locales del 11 de mayo e incluso amenazó con impugnar los resultados.
Esa coalición está liderada por el general retirado David Granger, de 69 años de edad, y por primera vez en la historia del país aglutinó a grupos de afroguyaneses, amerindios y mestizos bajo una misma bandera política.
Basó su campaña en promesas como mayores oportunidades de educación y salud, un incremento salarial e impuestos más bajos.
Estos comicios están considerados como los más importantes de Guyana desde 1992, cuando el PPP asumió el poder, pues el componente étnico dominó toda la campaña.
Gecom habilitó a más de 570 mil personas para escoger al nuevo Gobierno, a los 65 miembros de la Asamblea Nacional y a los dirigentes de las 10 regiones, como se divide administrativamente el país.
Además del PPP y la APNU+AFC, en las elecciones compitieron otras seis agrupaciones minoritarias.
Coalition secures narrow win in 2015 elections
The opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) led by Brigadier David Arthur Granger, has secured a narrow win this year’s elections.
Mr. Granger is poised to become Guyana’s eighth Executive President. He is now to head a government that comprises a number of smaller political parties and is said to be the representation of national unity in a country as racially diverse as Guyana.
The coalition, during its tenure, will have control over the executive and legislative arms of the government.
The results were announced yesterday by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, when he presented the final preliminary results of the 2015 elections.
Those results revealed that the APNU+AFC accumulated 206,817 votes while the long-governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) accumulated 201,457 votes, a difference of 5,360 votes.
The coalition’s gain created a devastating loss for the incumbent PPP/C which held political power for over 23 years.
The PPP/C grip on political power was strong until the 2011 General and Regional Elections when it lost parliamentary control. Over the last few years, incumbent President, Donald Ramotar, ruled Guyana in a minority government.
Based on the preliminary results, APNU+AFC has secured 33 seats in what will be the Eleventh Parliament of Guyana, while the PPP/C, which will form the new opposition, has the remaining 32.
There will be no third Party in the Eleventh Parliament as none of the other Parties that contested the General and Regional Elections managed to win enough votes that will reflect a seat in Parliament.
Yesterday, Lowenfield said that the final declaration of the results will be made today after Returning Officers across the country in the 10 districts would have declared their individual results.
This will pave the way for the swearing in of the President.
The CEO, during his announcement of the results, said that he had some concerns with some counterfeit statements of polls from districts across the country. Lowenfield said that some of the statements that were delivered to GECOM were not on the same quality of paper on which the original statements were printed and the ones that the Commission approved.
A few statements of poll were void of specific security features that characterize GECOM’s official paper.
However, the Chief Elections Officer said that the votes contained on those statements are not enough to change the outcome of the elections. Subsequent to the press conference, Lowenfield assured media operatives that he would be carrying out extensive investigations into the origin of those statements.
He said that he wishes to track whether the SOPs would have originated from the Presiding Officers or whether they would have found their way to him through one of the various people that they had to pass through before reaching his desk.
Both Lowenfield and GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, said that the votes reflected on those statements cannot change the overall outcome of the elections. Surujbally was keen to point out that there may be changes. “Even if there is a difference of one, it reflects a change” but none that can deprive APNU+AFC of a victory.
Further, Dr, Surujbally, obviously peeved about the incident, said that it reflects the “evil” in society. He said he has no apologies for using the word “evil”. The Chairman said that it is disturbing to know that one would go to such length to do such a thing.
Incumbent President, Donald Ramotar, who called early elections after proroguing and later dissolving Parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote, has refused to concede defeat. Ramotar rejected the results and called for a full recount.
When asked if he would refuse to give up power, Ramotar told the media, “I cannot concede that I have lost these elections.”
However, on Monday —Election Day—Ramotar, in an interview just after he would have voted, told reporters, “Whoever loses should peacefully accept.”
So far, only two of the Returning Officers agreed to a recount and have since completed that process. However, the figures have not changed.
Ramotar’s party has been in power since 1992. If it was successful in this election, this would have marked, a sixth consecutive term for the Party. In recent times the PPP/C has been chided for corruption, nepotism, cronyism, thieving and a number of failed contracts.
Last evening, the Party sent out a statement repeating a slogan that was first used by the party in 1964, “Cheated not defeated”. Again, a coalition forced his party out of government.
The release further stated, “We call upon our supporters to be calm and to be prepared for the new phase of struggle that will open up with this new situation that has developed over the past four hours.”
This election has had close to 200 observers from credible observer missions including the Carter Center which the PPP/C had leaned on in 1992 to see free and fair elections.
The various observer missions, including the Organization of American States (OAS), said that allegations about irregularities were unfounded. They certified the elections “free and fair.”
Yesterday, a number of diplomats refused to attend a meeting summoned by Donald Ramotar at the Office of the President. The diplomats said that they were told that the meeting was to discuss the PPP’s concerns regarding the election results.
However, they did not see such a meeting at the Office of the President as appropriate at such a time.
PPP/C insists on total recount
Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Donald Ramotar announced that the party will accept defeat once a total recount is done and the People’s National Congress (PNC) led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition remains victorious.
“We don’t want to be in Government against the will of the people. That’s not our objective. This party has fought all its life for democracy and we don’t want to be in Government against the will of the people but we are convinced that these elections were rigged and that is why it is very important for us to have a total recount of the ballots,” he said.
On Thursday, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) released the preliminary results of the General and Regional Elections which clearly stated that for General Elections, the PPP/C attained 201,457 votes while APNU/AFC gained 206,817.
Immediately after, the PPP/C held a press conference and reiterated its belief that elections were not free and fair.
Ramotar said the party lodged a request for a total recount of the General and Regional Elections, noting that the process should only take some eight hours.
“We believe that the only way to verify that the elections were free, I wouldn’t say fair because of some of the violence that took place on elections day and so forth but we should have a total recount of the votes. To give this elections integrity and credibility, we think that that it is essential to have a total recount of the votes,” he said.
Ramotar maintains that the elections were rigged, given the many incidents of irregularities that occurred during the electoral process on May 11.
Ramotar said he believes there were collusions between APNU/AFC and some of GECOM staff which allowed for these transgressions to occur.
On that note, Ramotar said he strongly believes that if a recount is granted and executed by GECOM there will be a vast difference in the outcome of the elections.
He alluded to a recount that was granted for Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), noting that the recount saw the PPP/C gaining some 80 more votes.
However, the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield explained to media operatives at a press conference that if there should be any change in the number of votes allocated to the various contesting political parties, that change is unlikely to be significant enough to alter the outcome of the elections.
Asked whether he believes, given all the complications initially encountered, that GECOM can deliver a credible recount, Ramotar replied in the affirmative.
Meanwhile, in the event GECOM rejects the party’s request for a total recount, Ramotar admitted that he is unsure of PPP/C’s next move; however, he did not dismiss the likelihood of moving to the court to file an injunction to block the declaration of the final results.
Asked whether the PPP/C would consider participating in “a Government of national unity,” Ramotar said “that is not an option in front of the party.”