by Zena Henry
In a petition challenging the validity of the 2015 General and Regional Elections the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has cited over 20 reasons why the recently held polls should be deemed “flawed” and thus warrant the reholding of fresh polls.
The petition on behalf of PPP candidate and party member, Ganga Persaud states, among other things, that valid ballots were wrongly deemed as rejected and many Statements of Poll used by the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) and/or the Chief Elections Officer to ascertain the results contain arithmetic errors.
The petition says that there was multiple voting by persons at various polling divisions throughout the country, persons whose names were not on the Official List of Electors were allowed to vote, persons impersonated and voted for persons, and that huge mobs gathered at several polling stations and other strategic places, particularly in Region 4, threatening, intimidating and creating such fear and tension that it rendered it impossible for polling and counting agents, duly appointed Candidates to the poll and Elections Agents to carry out their duties and functions properly.
It is alleged that several ballot boxes from various polling divisions were either not sealed or improperly sealed with the authorised seals at the close of poll, several ballot attendants and polling/counting agents of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic were prevented from accompanying the ballot boxes while ballot attendants and polling/counting agents of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change coalition were allowed to do so.
The party claims that the Statements Of Poll (SOP) used by GECOM and/or the Chief Election Officer to ascertain the results were not the SOPs which emanated from the polling stations but were fraudulently concocted and inserted into GECOM’s machinery, and therefore, the data contained thereon is not reflective of the will of the electorate as expressed at those polling stations.
It was mentioned too that the system used to intermix the Disciplined Services ballots with that of the general electorate is “unknown, irregular and clandestine, rendering it impossible to confirm whether that which was intermixed was Disciplined Services ballots at all. Votes cast in favour of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic List of Candidates at various polling divisions were subtracted from and added to the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) List of Candidates on various SOPs.
Apart from polling day inconsistencies on the ground, the PPP claims also that GECOM miscalculated and/or incorrectly tabulated and ascertained the results in respect of the said elections, and that the Returning Officers of nine of the ten polling districts unlawfully refused requests by the Counting Agents of People’s Progressive Party/Civic for those districts, to conduct a final general count as is provided for by the Representation of the People Act.
They stated too their attempts to get the election body to act on their concerns of variances in the data contained in the SOPs and other related issues, but these were not adhered to.
The PPP is hoping therefore that the court will, “determine and declare that the whole of the electoral process was so flawed; contained so many procedural errors and so many instances of fraudulent and/or suspicions actions that the results that have been derived from the process cannot be credibly deemed to represent accurately the will of the electorate.”
They want the court to determine and declare also that the refusal of the Returning Officers of the different polling districts to grant a final general count, as requested by the Counting Agents of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic List of Candidates for those polling districts is “unlawful, contrary to and in violation of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03, is null, void and of no effect,” and thus “order a recount of all ballots casted, determine and declare that the number of valid votes cast differs from the number of votes upon which seats in the National Assembly were allocated, and that GECOM be directed to review the said lists and to accordingly reallocate such seat in accordance with Section 97 of the Representation of the People Act.
They want redress in conformity with the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act, Chapter 1:04, which includes, “but not limited to, ordering fresh elections to be held in the whole or part, for the purpose of rectifying the said results…”
The PPP’s petition means they have finally put into writing contentions previously disclosed and will be taking it to the High Court as early as Thursday June 25, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall told Demerara Waves Wednesday June 24.