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PPP may call for new round of registration; implications for election date

PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), worried about the integrity of the voters’ list, on Monday signaled that it might push for a fresh round of continuous registration- a move that could affect the deadline for early general and regional elections.

Party General Secretary, Clement Rohee acknowledged that a new round of continuous registration and the claims and objections period, with the involvement of all political parties, would have implications for holding the polls in light of the Alliance For Change (AFC)-sponsored no-confidence motion against the government.

“There are a host of implications, I do agree, which we would have to look at if that situation arises but I would say when we come to that bridge we will cross it,” when asked how a new period of continuous registration would affect the date for an election.  Rohee recalled the PPP informing then President Desmond Hoyte that GECOM was not ready back in the 1990s and so certain decisions had been taken.

If the motion is approved by the majority-controlled House when the parliamentary recess ends early next month, elections would constitutionally have to be held within 90 days or the latest by January 31, 2015. Alternatively, President Donald Ramotar can call the election even before debate on the motion.

But Rohee said the PPP’s first priority was to ensure that the voters list is “free of discrepancies” as part of efforts to guarantee a free and fair election.  “If the list is rejected, it would mean that probably a new exercise of continuous registration and claims and objections may have to be done- this time with GECOM and party scrutineers to ensure that the list is clean and acceptable at least to us,” he said.

The PPP wants the Guyana Elections Commission to remove the names of under-aged and 2,958 dead persons from the preliminary voters list. That party also wants GECOM to explain and justify how the total number of new eligible voters has soared by about 80,000 to bring the total number of registrants to 550,000. “All we want is a clean and credible list. We are not asking for anything else,” said Rohee.

The PPP appeared to be taking up a posture to flex its muscles to pressure the elections management authority into fixing the list. “At the end of the day, I don’t see GECOM holding to a list that the PPP, which is a major political party in this country, objecting to it. I dont’t see it. It has never happened in the history of this country since I am around,” said Rohee.

The PPP General Secretary was hard-pressed to say what types of evidence have been submitted to GECOM to make out a case for the removal of the names of deceased persons.