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Less than 50 percent turnout at Guyana’s Local Government Elections

Less than 50 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in Friday’s Local Government Elections, the first such polls in since 1994, authorities estimated.

Various authoritative sources in Essequibo, Berbice and Georgetown estimate that the turnout was  in the 40s in most areas.

Polls closed at 6 PM, paving the way for the counting of votes and the posting of Statements of Poll at the 1,562 polling stations in the 72 town and neighbourhood councils.

Head of the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) Observer Mission, Captain Gerry Gouveia told Demerara Waves Online News that while the process was smooth and there were no major reports of irregularities, the turnout was poor. “The turnout was very, very low. That is what we getting across the country,” he said.

Gouveia said one difficulty that some voters complained about was the fact that there was no one at the bottom of the ballot papers for them to vote for, but it simply meant that there were no individual contestants.

Chairman of the Guyana Elections  Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally told Demerara Waves Online News that all the training and retraining “paid dividends” and the polling day staff was very uniformed in the execution of their duties.

On the matter of the turnout,  Surujbally he said based on the hundreds of polling stations that Elections Commissioners visited in the urban and per-urban areas, “I would have wanted more people to turn out.”

Already, Surujbally was unprepared for GECOM to take any blame for voter-education, saying that it was not a mandatory responsibility by the elections management authority but a major function of political parties, organisations and candidates.  “Those who want to be elected should have gone and canvassed to their supporters and their people,” he said.

All the results should be in the latest by 10 O’clock Friday night (March 18, 2016) and results could be officially declared on Saturday.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says 507, 633 were registered to vote  for representatives of three political parties, 17 voluntary groups and 63 individual candidates in a mixed system of Proportional Representation and First Past the Post.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Again, low voter turn out favors the coalition because it is not being viewed as commendable as it should less than one year in power. It may also explain why no national holiday was declared to facilitate a larger turn out, but I am unsure if the PPP could have fared any better because of the Jagdeo factor.

    Analysts will have a field day this weekend figuring out the causative factors for such an embarrassing response to an exercise long touted as overdue, yet voters were disinterested.

    Is the problem really with voters or is it with how politicians and parties are being viewed on both sides of the major political divide?

    • rudeo

      for the armchair coroners to haggle about…..voter apathy must be placed at parties/candidates images and non-happenings of any meaningful ways forward since May 11 2015

  • Col123

    When you must have “connections” with the ruling party to get services, it is easy for voters to rationalize that those with connections to the central govt. should win…no need for a post mortem…

  • Col123

    Craig:..I hope Demerara Waves afford me this response….there…you have it in Demerara waves…look it up.:: “APNU+AFC intensifies push for local gov’t domination”
    Posted by: Jomo Paul in News, Politics March 15, 2016 11 Comments
    Well..I know that I am not Indian BECAUSE …I have the privilege of researching my genetics in a clinical lab…for free…and I do not have any Indian traits…actually, I did find a connection to a benign sickle cell trait common to Africans…I have some friends who thought that I was a moron for not going to Harvard….instead, I chose to be an alma mater of the famous Dr Jagan..who was also called a moron….I have never met the man…but I know that he he had the same foundation of African history as I have…so my friend …I can accept your weakness….

  • Emile_Mervin

    Peter,

    First, I cannot argue against the merits of the Coalition’s clean up of the City, but cleaning up the City alone cannot be reason for staging LGE, because LGE is a one-shot exercise that extends into how local communities are managed and receive funding for service delivery. We have struggled for so long with lack of free and fair elections that elections are all we seem to know about. Truth is, LGE must lead to people feeling that their communities matter because of the people they elect from their communities, and not based on the outdated, ill-fated party list system that make elected representatives accountable to the party and not the people.

    Second, low voter turnout, IMHO, is politically-linked. After Granger became the main Opposition Leader, he made LGE his number one priority. In 2014, when Nagamootoo pushed for the NCV against Ramotar, Granger pushed for protests demanding LGE. Yet, when the day for LGE to be finally staged, there was no national holiday to celebrate the return of LGE and give voters the privilege to vote in this historic event. Granger basically denied Guyanese that privilege, as the less than 40% voter turnout confirmed.