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PNCR to allow one member-one vote

PNCR General Secretary, Oscar Clarke.

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) intends to amend its constitution to abolish delegate voting and instead allow a system of one member-one vote, party General Secretary Oscar Clarke said Tuesday.

He said that would be one of the key recommendations to be tabled by the Constitutional Reform Committee at the PNCR’s 18th Biennial Congress to be held from July 25 to 27, 2014 at the party’s Congress Place headquarters, Sophia. “I think that is an incentive for membership…The membership would say that is a good thing. I want to be able vote for my leader rather than to have somebody come to Congress to vote as a delegate on my behalf,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

If approved, the new system is expected to take effect at Congressional elections in 2016.

Currently, every 10 members are represented by one delegate to Congress who is eligible to vote. Candidates for general and regional elections are also automatically candidates to the congress.

The General Secretary explained that under the new system every member would be able to vote for the positions of Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairpersons and the Treasurer.

Clarke said the PNCR decided to scrap delegate voting in response to repeated calls over the years. “People have been clamouring for direct voting and we thought that this is a good innovation,” he said.

If the new system is approved, members would vote for their new leaders over a given period and the results would be declared before the Congress to discuss political policies.

The PNC has already introduced a new digital membership card to facilitate easy direct balloting by each party group.

Asked whether the PNCR was concerned that campaigning in a system for direct voting could lead to more controversies, he said “if people enter into campaigning, it is good for the party. It means the party is vibrant.”

The General Secretary expected that campaign rules would be instituted to bar contestants from defaming each other.