Opositor partido Progresista del Pueblo gana elecciones de Guyana
Tras otro recuento de los de votos en Guyana ante la falta de transparencia en un conteo anterior, las autoridades electorales confirmaron la victoria del opositor Partido Progresista del Pueblo (PPP/C) en las elecciones generales y regionales del 2 de marzo de 2020.
El PPP/C obtuvo más de 15.500 votos sobre su principal rival, la coalición Partnership for National Unity / Alliance for Change (Asociación para la Unidad Nacional + Alianza para el Cambio — APNU+AFC).
Este recuento de las elecciones fue presenciado por representantes de 9 partidos políticos que participaron en las elecciones, observadores de la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom), la OEA y observadores locales, incluida la Comisión de la Sección Privada y la Cámara de Comercio de Estados Unidos.
El 2 de marzo, el recuento original de los votos emitidos se realizó sin problemas y se completó en nueve regiones con el PPP/C a la cabeza.
Sin embargo, la tabulación de Declaraciones de Encuesta (SOP’s) se interrumpió en el Distrito Cuatro (Demerara-Mahaica) después de que el Oficial de Regreso Clairmont Mingo cambió del procedimiento legal, que garantiza la transparencia donde cada SOP.
Al respecto, cada SOP tuvo que ser exhibido a las partes interesadas presentes para permitir la comparación con sus copias, pero Mingo se desvió a un procedimiento en el que los supuestos números de los SOP se incorporaron a una hoja de cálculo consolidada.
Este hecho generó polémica y hubo llamamientos inmediatos a la transparencia por parte de los observadores locales e internacionales.
Tras la decisión de un Tribunal Superior, se le ordenó a Mingo que volviera al procedimiento prescrito, pero repitió su manera de tabular de otra manera y presentó totales que variaron sustancialmente de los de otras partes y tenía la APNU / AFC por delante en lugar del PPP/C.
La presidenta de GECOM, la jueza jubilada Claudette Singh, aceptó un recuento de todos los votos, que había sido propuesto por el presidente provisional David Granger y aceptado por el líder de la oposición, Bharrat Jagdeo, después de una intervención de varios líderes de Caricom.
El actual presidente David Granger se presentó como candidato de la coalición, mientras el PPP/C presentó postuló a Irfaan Ali.
PPP/C wins 2020 General and Regional Elections
The PPP/C has emerged the clear winner of March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections following the National Recount of the final ballot box (#4877) from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Sunday.
The PPP/C gained in excess of 15,500 votes over its main rival – A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC). The Statements of Recount (SoRs) for the final ballot boxes – 14 for General and 95 for Regional – now have to be tabulated.
This tabulation exercise is expected to be completed early today, as party agents have been told to return to the ACCC at 10:00h. The tabulation and completion of the recount could have both been completed on Sunday but there was a sudden and dubious technical error by the National Communications Network (NCN) – which was conducting the live streaming – that delayed the process.
Speaking to the media directly afterwards, PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali revealed that the entire process could have been completed on Sunday, had it not been for that untoward technical difficulty.
“I thought it would have been completed today, but there were two hours or so delay because NCN had some technical difficulties. If we had not had those delays, then the tabulation would have been over today in my estimation.”
“I want to make it clear. This phase is not over until the declaration is made. But the recount is over and we have inputted all the SoRs and the results are showing exactly what we said with our Statements of Poll. The PPP/C would win these elections by well over 15,000 votes.
Speaking also on the technical issues, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) Executive Timothy Jonas also confirmed that the process was hampered on Sunday by the sudden technical difficulties, which he viewed with suspicion. According to him, it reminds them of the controversies at the GECOM command centre, Ashmins building, High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown, when verification of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was derailed by the machinations of certain Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) staff.
The elections recount was witnessed by representatives of all nine political parties that contested the elections, observers from the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and local observers including the Private Sector Commission and American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
On March 2, the original counting of the ballots cast had proceeded smoothly and had been completed in nine regions with the PPP/C in a commanding lead.
However, the tabulation of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was interrupted in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) after Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo switched from the legal procedure – which ensures transparency – whereby each SoP had to be exhibited to the stakeholders present to enable comparison to their copies. However, Mingo diverted to a procedure where the purported numbers from the SoPs were incorporated into a consolidated spreadsheet. This led to immediate calls for transparency from both local and international observers.
This led to the High Court case, when all the parties excepting APNU/AFC protested the sleight of hand that facilitated an inflation of the votes for that party.
Following the High Court’s decision, Mingo was ordered to revert to the prescribed procedure but he repeated his subterfuge in another guise and submitted totals that varied substantially from those of other parties and had the APNU/AFC ahead rather than the PPP/C.
The Chairwoman of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh agreed to a recount of the votes, which had been proposed by caretaker President David Granger and agreed to by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo after an intervention by several Caricom leaders. Since then, both leaders have recommitted to accepting the results of the recount.
As the recount process wound down, voices from the domestic and international community – local church leaders, the Private Sector Commission, the US State Department, Ambassadors of the US, EU, UK, Caricom, OAS have been calling for an acceptance of the recount by all the parties, leading to a peaceful transition for the new Government that has been chosen by the people of Guyana.
Ali urges “responsible behaviour” from everyone
With the counting and tabulation of the ballots cast at the March 2 elections completed now, Presidential Candidate of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Dr Irfaan Ali is calling on Guyanese to act responsibly as the country awaits a formal declaration by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of the official results.
After 33 days, the recounting of a total of 2339 ballot boxes concluded on Sunday and the figures reconfirmed that the Opposition – PPP/C – has won the elections with in excess of 15,500 votes over its main rival A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).
The Chief Elections Officer is now expected to compile his report and present it to the seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The Commission will then deliberate and make an official declaration.
The conclusion of the recount comes three months after the General and Regional Elections which were held on March 2.
Speaking with reporters outside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, where the exercise is being conducted, Dr Ali called for responsible behaviour to be displayed during this period.
“As we move towards the next stage of having the report submitted and a declaration, we must act in a responsible manner. We must act in a manner that our country men and women expect us to act in as leader. We have to be gracious to each other and we have to move forward in building this country and taking this country forward,” he posited.
APNU+AFC claims ‘massive electoral fraud’ affecting over 84,000 votes
With the conclusion of the recount process showing victory for the opposition PPP/C, the incumbent APNU+AFC yesterday claimed that there had been massive fraud and said it was putting GECOM “on notice” that illegal votes cannot produce a valid result.
From proclaiming victory and calling for the swearing in of incumbent President David Granger, APNU+AFC has dramatically changed its narrative since the recount started by charging that there has been massive fraud.
Widespread reportage and evidence has shown that District Four’s Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo had tried to fix the result in favour of APNU+AFC by producing false numbers from a spreadsheet. This was however detected and a recount of votes subsequently agreed. After one of its candidates failed in a bid to halt the recount, APNU+AFC immediately began claiming irregularities at the start pf the process on May 6th. It has thus far been unable to substantiate its claims and none of the other contestants at the elections or international observer groups have supported its position.
GECOM wraps up recount
THE Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), on Sunday completed the national recount of ballots cast at the 2020 General and Regional Elections with the tabulation process of said ballots likely to be completed today.
Sunday saw the completion of recount of the remaining 74 ballot boxes adding to a total of 2, 339. Meanwhile, the tabulation process was pegged on Sunday at 2,325 for the general elections and 2,244 for regional.
When the tabulation is completed, the results will not be declared just yet. Based on the Order which legally triggered the recount, Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield must next submit a report of the recount to the commission. In accordance with the amended order, this report must be submitted no later than June 13.
The report will include a summary of the observation reports for each district. It is in these observation reports that the APNU+AFC, primarily, has highlighted over 6,000 cases which it believes are tied to electoral fraud.
These cases include: missing Official Lists of Electors, ballots for one region cast in another; ballots cast for the dead and persons who have migrated; persons voting without proper identification; persons voting outside of their districts without employment documents; large numbers of improperly stamped ballots at locations where disciplined services members voted; missing poll books and documents from one polling station being found in the ballot boxes of another.
It is also expected that the three-member CARICOM scrutinising team will present a report pertaining to their observations, recommendations and conclusions to the commission.
When the said reports are received by the commission, it will then deliberate on them and how they will be treated before a decision is made on whether the said data should be used or before a final declaration is made.
The amended Order states: “The commission shall, after deliberating on the report at Paragraph 12, determine whether it should request the chief election officer to use the data compiled in accordance with Paragraph 12 as the basis for the submission of a report under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, Cap 1:03, provided that the commission shall, no later than three (3) days after receiving the report, make the declaration of the results of the final credible count of the elections held on the 2nd day of March 2020.”
There is already division amongst government-nominated and opposition-nominated commissioners with regard to what should be done about the claimed and observed irregularities. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has argued that every election will produce margins of error and the ones discovered by the coalition are minimal. However, the APNU+AFC contends that there are “clearly linked” patterns amongst the irregularities which invalidated votes cast for the party. It is also steadfast in the position that fraudulent votes cannot be counted and that GECOM has the responsibility to deliver credible results to the electorate.
The last recital of the Order provides that the conduct of the recount process is for the purpose of “…the reconciliation of the ballots issued with the ballots cast, destroyed, spoiled, stamped, and as deemed necessary, their counterfoils/ stubs; authenticity of the ballots and the number of voters listed and crossed out as having voted; the number of votes cast without ID cards; the number of proxies issued and the number utilised; statistical anomalies; occurrences recorded in the Poll Book”.
Even so, citizens will only know of the commission’s decisions on how it will treat with the matters highlighted in the summary of the observation reports to be presented within the CEO’s report following the deliberations.
Once the report is deliberated upon, it will determine whether the CEO should use the data to compile a final report for the declaration of the results by GECOM Chairperson, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh.
The national recount, which commenced on May 6, 2020, is being executed under Article 162 of the Constitution, and Section 22 of the Elections Law (Amendment) Act under the supervision of the elections commission, based on an agreement reached between President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo following the intervention of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
President David Granger, while maintaining that he will accept the results of the General and Regional Elections as declared by the commission, has stated that, from all indication, the electoral process was manipulated as he pointed to the countless irregularities unearthed.
“Everyone is aware of numerous reports of irregularities including unstamped ballots, deceased and migrant voters and missing poll books. Those irregularities appear to have been committed intentionally, not accidentally, and demonstrate a pattern of manipulation of the electoral process,” he said in an address to the nation on Saturday.
Even so, the Head of State has also iterated: “…I shall accept the declaration of the results by the Elections Commission, which will allow for a democratically elected government to be sworn-in to office. I am committed to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. I respect the integrity and autonomous nature of the Elections Commission. I will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as I have abided by the rulings of the Court.”