Guyana one step closer to declaring winner of March 2 elections

 The two main political entities in Guyana were accusing each of undermining democracy as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) late on Friday night released the preliminary results for the disputed Region 4 in the March 2 regional and general elections.

The ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity plus the Alliance for Change, has been declared the winner of Region 4 in the Guyana elections.

According to the GECOM statement, the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity plus the Alliance for Change (APNU=AFC) had polled 136,057 and 130,289 in the general and regional elections as against 77,231 and 74, 877, respectively for the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

All the parties have until noon on Saturday to file requests for a recount.

“The District 4 declarations now pave the way for GECOM to make a full and final declaration of the elections held in all ten electoral districts.”

— A Partnership for National Unity plus the Alliance for Change

But in separate statements issued after GECOM announced the results in a day when the opposition had gone to the High Court to file a contempt of court charge against the Returning Officer for Region 4, Clairmont Mingo, the coalition said that it is pleased “democracy and the rule of law have prevailed”.

11 days of waiting

It said 11 days after voters had cast their ballots, GECOM had “been allowed to do its work, complete the tabulation of results for District 4 and declare the results for regional and general elections in the district.

“The District 4 declarations now pave the way for GECOM to make a full and final declaration of the elections held in all ten electoral districts,” the APNU+AFC said, praising the staff of the Commission “for their strength and fortitude in the face of intimidation, threats, attacks and assault.”

“Democracy in Guyana has prevailed even as it came under threat by forces bent on derailing the process. The APNU+AFC now calls on all political leaders to demonstrate maturity. The coalition salutes the people of Guyana for keeping the peace and remaining calm and urges that this continues.”

Criminal charges

But the opposition party said “in what is a clear case of fraud, provision was made for the signatures of ‘witnesses’ on the Region 4 declaration” and that “interestingly, the only ‘witness’ who signed was the embattled APNU+AFC Coalition’s Carol Joseph.

“This is a clear attempt to obfuscate the conspiracy between the PNCR-led APNU+AFC Coalition and complicit GECOM officials – a conspiracy to perpetrate electoral fraud – which led to signature of Volda Lawrence appearing on last week’s fraudulent declaration for Region 4.”

The opposition party said that the “fact remains that in all nine other Regions, only the stamp and signature of the Returning Officer was on the official declarations of election results in those areas.

“This move will not absolve those implicated in the private criminal charges that have been filed with the court,” it added.