Hours after the Alliance For Change (AFC) signaled that it might contest this year’s Local Government Elections (LGE) alone, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) said its parties have agreed to vie for village and town councils as a united body.
The five-party APNU, whose largest and dominant party is the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), said at meetings in September 2017 and January 2018, they “reaffirmed their commitment to competing in the forthcoming local government elections as a united team”.
The other APNU members are the Guyana Action Party (GAP) the Justice for All Party (JFAP); the National Front Alliance (NFA) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
The APNU’s statement came less than one day after AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman said “there is a strong body of opinion” that his party should contest LGE 2018 on its own to preserve its identity or stimulate interest and involvement by individuals and groups to seek elected office in the neighbourhood democratic councils, towns or constituencies of Georgetown. Trotman has said that some persons believed that AFC is a more grassroots party.
During the weeks leading up to the March 18, 2016 LGE, the AFC had expressed concern that APNU had been taking over a lot of the political space and did not even consider allowing for 40 percent of the candidates to be drawn from the AFC in the spirit of a political cooperation pact that had been signed in February 2015 for general elections in that year.
Prior to deciding to team up with APNU for the 2015 general elections, then AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan had expressed grave concern about his party losing its identity and ostracizing its East Indian support base that had been originally with the then governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC).
Monday night, APNU pointed out that it was established six and a half years ago, “not as a temporary electoral expedient, but on the basis of an enduring political principle.”
APNU highlighted that it protested, and struggled for the return of LGE for the first time since 1994 to enable people in their communities to democratically elect their representatives. However, when APNU had realised in the 2017 local polls that the AFC-backed Bartica Independent Green Alliance (BIGA) had been gaining momentum, top APNU leaders including President David Granger had gone into that area to urge its supporters not to vote for that “force ripe” party.
Adding that LGEs “are an important platform and a Constitutional right”, APNU said it “believes that its partners are ‘better together’ than apart and is committed to cooperating for the common good.”
APNU and AFC are yet to reach agreement on a new or revised Cummingsburg Accord.