by Zena Henry
The coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) is banking on an additional 10 percent vote that they think will afford them victory in the next two days when General and regional elections are held, but warned that its supporters would not take lightly to a fraudulent election.
The Coalition’s executive member Rupert Roopnarine expressed confidence that the Coalition would clinch a majority from the governing party of some 23 years. But in a potentially volatile political landscape where the government and the opposition have been traditionally split along race lines, Roopnarine was unrestrained to suggest that the hopefuls of change might be hard to restrain if they feel cheated.”
Roopnarine said that the party has already met with some observer groups and reported unwanted activities occurring through the campaigns and when asked whether the party will be willing to accept the results, the party member said to the foreign groups that, “barring flagrant violations of the electoral laws and best practices on Election day, we can see no reason at this present time why we should find difficulty on Election Day in accepting the result.”
He mentioned that the party continues to encourage peace and order amongst their supporters, but claimed that utterances being made by the PPPC seem bent on derailing peace. “They (PPP) has done everything they can to stem the unwanted toxic matter into the campaign and we have done our best to control the rage of some people based on what Jagdeo has been saying since he returned on the scene,” said the veteran politician who is an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance.
Roopnarine continued that the party has stressed to the people they want a peaceful election and post- election period. “We have urged people to stay calm, but I can tell you that there is such a surge of hope among the people that if they detect themselves that that there are deliberated attempts to frustrate the will of the electorate, we then fear that the people will very well be difficult to restrain.”
It was during the party’s weekly press briefing at their headquarters in Crown Street, Georgetown that the coalition expressed confidence of winning a majority this time around. Together the then split APNU and AFC were able to garner 51 percent of the votes giving them the majority over the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) which functioned as a one-seat minority government in the 65-seat National Assembly.
The party believes, however, that an uncommitted electorate is the target to get win the election since the party believes it already has that 51 percent backing. Apart from that, it is believed that over 120,000 persons who were registered to vote did not vote in 2011 and they might be part of that uncommitted bunch. “There is a large uncommitted voter population… from the studies we have seen, it is our view that we have tapped into this uncommitted voter population,” he said.
The Coalition’s presidential candidate David Granger expressed that the large turn outs and overwhelming support in the various locations that the party visited has left him convinced of victory.
The Leader reasoned that “we expect to win about 58 percent to 62 percent of the votes.” He explained that with the 51 percent that the party got in 2011, the coalition believes an additional seven to 10 percent would secure them a comfortable win.
He said he has seen the change when visiting the 10 regions across the nation. “People are appalled by th level of corruption, they are appalled by the level of crime and cronyism.” He contended that ordinary citizens are angered by the actions of the incumbent administration which in his view, “has lost all sense of objectivity and continue to do things that upset the ordinary citizen.”
Granger said that party is confident that it is that shift taking place which would bring the party in line for its win. “There is a movement taking place and it is massive, and I am convinced with 51 percent now, we can get the 10 percent to take us beyond 58 to 60 percent,” the presidential candidate opined.
The Coalition also gave statistical information to back its 10 percent needed theory and why persons would want to vote for change. He said, the PPP claimed 220,667 votes in the controversial 1997 election. Its tally fell to 210,013 in 2001. It fell to 182,156 in 2006 before crashing to 166,340in 2011 when it lost its majority in Parliament. “The PPP’s electoral performance has been declining over the past eighteen years,” he said.
Granger added that the PPP has engaged in provocation tactics and this is angering the people. He said that the party wants a clean clear victory and the people have nothing to fear from the Coalition. “The mischief makers are on the other side,” he charged.