The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will decide on Tuesday whether it will publish the results of Elections 2015 without the Peoples Progressive Party Civic’s (PPP/C’s) list of Members of the Parliament for the 11th Parliament, says GECOM Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield.
Section 99 of the Representation of the People Act requires that the results be publicly declared and published in the Gazette “as soon as possible but no later than 15 days” following Election Day.
The information to be published includes; the number of votes cast for each list of candidates, the number of rejected ballot papers; the number of seats allocated to each list of candidates; and the names of the persons who, as a result of the election, have become members of the National Assembly.”
As Elections day was May 11th this information was to be published in the Gazette by May 26th. The results were publicly declared on May 16th.
GECOM, however, has, to date, failed to publish in the Gazette the results of Elections 2015. This was due to the fact that neither the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) coalition nor the PPPC had submitted the names of their MPs to be.
Today though, GECOM Chaiman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, told Demerara Waves Online News that the APNU + AFC coalition has finally submitted its list, but that the PPPC’s list is still outstanding.
AFC General Secretary, David Patterson on Monday declined to disclose the names of the persons who will represent the AFC side of the coalition in the National Assembly. He shared, however, that persons who have been chosen to serve as ministers will automatically serve in the National Assembly.
“The problem is that the PPPC has not submitted…my reading of the law is that all the four things must be done together,” Surujbally said, responding to questions as to why the results have not yet been gazetted.
PPPC General Secretary, Clement Rohee on Monday told Demerara Waves Online News that the party intends to submit its list of MPs although it has not decided whether it will occupy its seats when the time comes. “…it is important that we make the distinction between submitting the list to parliament and going to parliament…we are consciously discussing the matter…and based on that we will submit our list,” Rohee said.
One GECOM official, who requested anonymity, pointed to the possibility of facing legal action, specifically an injunction, if the body moves to publish in the Gazette the results of the election without the names of persons who are to be MPs.
However, as former Attorney General (AG) Nandlall today said that his interpretation of the legislation is that there is no requirement that all the information must be published at the same time it seems unlikely that the PPPC would bring such an action.
Important to note is that GECOM’s inability to publish the results in the Gazette gives the PPPC virtually unlimited time to prepare and file an election petition. Former president, Donald Ramotar, and Nandlall, have indicated the party’s intention to challenge the results of Elections 2015 in court. Such a challenge can only be brought by way of an elections petition.
Section 5 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act dictates that an election petition “shall be presented within twenty-eight days after the results of the election out of which the matter in question on the petition arose are published in the Gazette under section 99 of the Representation of the People Act.”
Until such a publication is made there are not restrictions on the period of time the PPPC has to prepare its legal challenge.