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PPP rubbishes AFC’s call to extend gov’t’s life ahead of elections

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Headquaters- Freedom House.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Saturday night ruled out returning to the National Assembly to extend the life of the government, despite a fresh call by the Alliance For Change (AFC) to ensure the constitutionality of the elections is not challenged.

“Needless to say, despite the rantings of the corrupt cabal, the PPP maintains that its return to the National Assembly is unnecessary and will not only lend legitimacy to the Government’s unconstitutional occupation in Office, but will also provide some degree of legal cover to all the unlawful actions done, decisions made and moneys spent during this period of unconstitutionality,” the party said in apparent response to the AFC which floated the idea on Friday.

The AFC noted that the PPP had previously rejected any idea of going back to the 65-seat National Assembly to give the government the required two-thirds majority to extend the life of the government pending the holding of general elections.

But the AFC, in a renewed call, urged the 32-seat PPP to give government the extension now that the Guyana Elections Commission has informed President David Granger that it’s ready to conduct general and regional council elections any time after the end of February, 2020.

“The next constitutional requirement to ensure that the elections 2020 are held without challenge is the requirement to get two-thirds majority of the National Assembly as is required by Article 107.

“We will urge the opposition to ensure formal constitutionality of that elections by giving its support in the Assembly to the extension now needed for the new set date. The opposition must not be seen to be frustrating this necessary parliamentary support,” said AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, a well-known civil and criminal lawyer.

Already, the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union have chided the Granger-led administration for allowing September 18 to come without the dissolution of the Parliament and naming of an election date.

The President has repeatedly stressed that he would not interfere in the work of the independent GECOM, a position that the PPP has dismissed categorically. Opposition Leader and PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo has countered, saying that the President needs to show leadership by instructing his three-nominated election commissioners to do what is necessary to ensure elections are held in a timely manner.

Jagdeo has accused Granger of citing GECOM’s independence to scuttle the holding of general elections by March 21, 2019 – within three months of the passage of the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion.