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GECOM appears nearer to fresh polling timeframe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 20:26 by Writer

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is Wednesday expected to decide on a new timeframe within which general and regional council elections could be held, paving the way for President David Granger to dissolve Parliament and name an election date.

Election Commissioners from the opposition People’s Progressive Party and the governing coalition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) said the seven-member electoral body would meet on Wednesday to examine fresh timeframes to be proposed by the commission’s technical personnel.

APNU+AFC-aligned election commissioner, Vincent Alexander said he doubts that elections could be held this year but certainly by March, 2020 or possibly early next year. “We are hoping by tomorrow (Wednesday) to finalise the work programme and to be able to communicate to the President a prospective time,” Alexander told reporters.

With data from more than 370,000 persons captured during the July-August house-to-house registration exercise, Alexander said the information of more than 200,000 persons has been already encoded. He declined to give a timeframe on when that process would be completed, preferring only to say that the new deadline would not result in a loss of time because it would be running parallel with another exercise.

However, PPP-aligned election commissioner, Sase Gunraj said the original timeline for completing encoding eligible voter information was September 15, but now the GECOM Secretariat says it will take three weeks. “That has led me to the conclusion that all of the timelines that are presented by the Secretariat are not to be trusted,” he said.

Gunraj said encoding began since the start of August, 2019 but “we are nowhere near completing half of the encoding”.

The PPP official reiterated his opposition on merging the house-to-house registration data with the existing National Register of Registrants, saying that the commission should move swiftly to claims and objections on the existing list.

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September 2019