October 1, 2016

PPP/C claims victory but still questions GECOM’s ability to conduct free, fair elections

LGE 2016

Although the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) seems to have accepted the results gathered from various polling stations, it still questions the Guyana Elections Commission’s ability to conduct free and fair elections.
During a news conference on Monday, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee declared that the results of the just-concluded Local Government Elections (LGE) ought to be seen as a referendum against the 10-month-old A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.

PPP Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha and General Secretary Clement Rohee during the press conference

PPP Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha and General Secretary Clement Rohee during the press conference

“The results of the elections clearly demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of electors cast the punishment vote against the APNU/AFC expressing their rejection and dissatisfaction with the broken promises and vindictive policies that have brought about untold sufferings on the working man and woman,” Rohee said.
“By the use of ballot, the electors rebuffed Granger’s call for total control by the APNU/AFC coalition Administration of Central Government, Parliament and Local Government,” Rohee added.
Nonetheless, he maintained that the Party still had doubts about GECOM’s ability to conduct and supervise free, fair and transparent elections.
“The protest against [GECOM Chairman, Dr Steve] Surujbally will continue. He has not been exonerated in any way whatsoever… As to whether the Local Government Elections were free and fair, the Party is yet to conclude its analysis on the matter and this will be based on a close examination of reports brought in by our polling agents and the collective analysis of our Commissioners,” he explained.
The international community has already hailed the elections as free and fair, but Rohee posited that the Guyanese people are the “final arbiters” of such a declaration.
Moreover, Rohee disclosed that there are reports that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo may have interfered with the process.
“We have received reports of Nagamootoo and several other Ministers and Government officials entering polling stations and questioning GECOM officials contrary to the rules laid down by GECOM.  What was the purpose of these visits and what was told to the GECOM officials we are yet to learn,” he stated.
He also confirmed reports of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) Regional Executive Officer (REO) Carl Singh attempting to enter several polling stations in Lethem.
Following the declaration of the results of the General and Regional Elections last year, the PPP vehemently contended that the elections were rigged and Dr Surujbally somehow had a role to play in that.
The Party has since been calling for the removal of Dr Surujbally as GECOM Chairman, insisting that they have no confidence in him to deliver free and fair elections.
The Party had initially opted to not participate in the LGE until Dr Surujbally was removed.
An election petition challenging the results of the 2015 elections is currently before the courts.
Meanwhile, the PPP said it managed to win 48 of 71 local authority areas at the LGE.
PPP Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha, who was present at the press conference, pointed out that the Party managed to secure support in areas that were not traditionally PPP strongholds and also managed to advance its support base in the Party’s strongholds.
“We made a lot of inroads…we brought back our supporters and we gained new grounds,” he stated.

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