Guyana Elections:19 parties signal interest in upcoming polls in March 2020

…  GECOM to hold major briefing session Thursday December 19, 2019

THE Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be meeting, on Thursday December 19, 2019, with some 19 political parties contesting the 2020 General and Regional Elections, to bring them up-to-speed with their requirements for the elections.

The briefing session will be held at the Arthur Chung Convention Center and should see the attendance of representatives of the parties which have signed up to compete for votes next year.

GECOM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward, on Monday, gave a list of the 19 parties which have submitted their symbols for approval, 14 of which are new parties.       

The parties to contest include: A New and United Guyana (ANUG), the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Federal United Party (Fed-Up), the Citizenship Initiative (CI), Change Guyana, the New Movement (TNM), People’s Republic Party (PRP), Kingdom Liberal Movement (KLM), Destiny to Oneness, National Congress of Progressive Peoples Alliance, the Cooperative Republicans of Guyana and the Guyana United Democratic Party (UDP), Guyana National Service Party (GNS); the Democratic National Congress (DNC); the United Republic Party (URP), Horizon and Star and Organisation For the Victory of the People.

These will join the country’s better-known parties with the largest followings, the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+ AFC) coalition and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic.

The next big date for the political parties is Nominations Day set for January 10, 2020 and Ward informed that the meeting will be centered around ensuring that they are prepared for same. “The meeting basically will look at things from the legal perspective as it relates to parties contesting general and regional election but the primary objective really is to prepare parties for Nominations Day [and] take them through the procedure of what is required of them,” she said.

On Nomination Day, contesting political party must each submit their Lists of Candidates, one National Top-Up List, at least six Geographical Constituencies’ Lists and the Regional Democratic Councils’ Lists that the given Party may seek to contest.

The various Lists of Candidates must comprise registered voters who are eligible to be elected as members of the National Assembly. It must be accompanied by Statutory Declarations by each person named therein as candidates indicating their consent to be nominated before a Justice of the Peace (JP), Commissioner of Oaths, notary public or other persons authorized by law to administer an oath in the place where the declaration is made.

The Constitution also stipulates that a person may be a signatory to a List of Candidates, notwithstanding that he/she is named therein as a candidate.

Candidates’ names may be duplicated only in that contesting party’s Geographical Constituency Lists and on its National Top-Up Lists. However, it must be noted that a Candidate’s name must appear on only one Geographical Constituency’s List.

Ward said: “These are things the parties need to be alerted of and so this is what this meeting is about. To say to the parties: these are statutory requirements, this is what the law says, this is what you should do, this is how it will be treated from GECOM’s end so they’re aware of all the procedures.”

At least 8 of the new parties formed have given the Guyana Chronicle the assurance that they will meet the requirements of Nomination Day even as the majority are taking in the feat to contest in all the regions. Time will tell whether they are able to live up to these objectives and whether — in competition with the country’s two major political parties — they will be able to garner at least 6,000 votes to secure a seat in Parliament.

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