“If everything goes well…I am saying that Tuesday at very best Wednesday morning but more important you persons in the media that only GECOM has a legitimate right to make that announcement,” he said, while begging voters to be patient.
He ruled out the Commission declaring the presidency before all Statements of Poll have been properly processed and passed through the seven-member Commission and the Chief Elections Officer being granted permission to do so.
With assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a new system has been developed to receive and announce preliminary results through the Chief Elections Officer.
UNDP Resident Representative Khadija Musa assured that that international organisation would not be coming into contact with any of the results which see must “be credible, must be correct and it must come from the authorities.” “The UNDP, I would like to say, is not involved in sorting the data that comes or touching an SOPs (Statements of Polls) or anything such things,” she said.
The GECOM Chairman sought to allay any smattering of fears by the public that the results would be manipulated because it would take at least two days to declare a winner. “The electorate and the political parties must have patience. Nobody is here in the Elections Commission to concoct anything. I know that is the sort of nonsensical rumour that might traverse this country,” said Surujbally.
GECOM legally has 15 days within which to declare results of vote cast at the 2,229 polling stations across the country including those in far-flung areas of the country from which ballot boxes and Statements of Poll have to be transported by river, road and air to Georgetown.
Surujbally explained that expected rainy weather could prevent planes landing or taking off from interior airstrips but in the end it is only when the Statements of Poll arrive at GECOM and the results announced that they are credible.