As negotiators for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) enter the final hours of negotiating a pre-election coalition, APNU Chairman David Granger on Friday said both parties would have to give up some of their demands.
“It is impossible for the two sides to get everything that they ask for so I will not like to describe the AFC’s position as seeking too much. All I can say is that in the process of negotiation, we will arrive at an outcome and I am confident that at this point in time that we are close to a satisfactory outcome,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Well-placed sources in the AFC have confirmed media reports that the AFC was willing to give APNU the Prime Minister, Representative of the List, Deputy Representative of the List, Speaker and other Vice Presidents in exchange for the Presidency and one Vice Presidency. The Representative of the List is responsible for selecting which of the candidates would become parliamentarians.
In addition to the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, AFC wants a 60/40 sharing of positions in an 18-member cabinet, but APNU is insisting on an 80/20 formula in its favour, according to sources in the AFC which clinched seven seats in the 2011 general and regional elections. APNU won 26 seats.
Contrary to Granger, AFC sources told Demerara Waves Online News that the matter of sharing of key positions was in fact discussed in the most recent round of talks.
Asked whether he was willing to make compromises for a national good, he insisted that both APNU and AFC “have to give up to get the greater good.” “We can’t get everything that we want,” he said, adding that his partnership has put the national interest first.
Granger dodged specific questions about whether he would be willing to give up the presidential candidacy in order to dislodge the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) from office for the first time in 22 years. “David Granger’s fate is in the hands of the APNU negotiating team and they are aware of my commitment to establishing a pre-election coalition in the national interest,” he said.
The AFC hopes that a pre-election coalition deal could be sealed with APNU before the smaller party reports to its National Executive Committee conference on Saturday, February 14, 2015- Valentine’s Day.
United States-based Political Science Professor, David Hinds has said that it would very difficult for the Afro-Guyanese dominated APNU to give into a Moses Nagamootoo presidential candidacy. The AFC fears losing a chunk of its East Indian support if it gives into APNU’s demand for Granger to be at the helm of the coalition.
The PPP’s governance has been faced with accusations of human rights abuses, squandermania, discrimination, poor quality roads and buildings, corruption, less than satisfactory social services and a tattered sugar industry. Government’s performance in fighting gun crimes and drug trafficking has been also severely criticized by the opposition and human rights activists.
For its part, the PPP boasts of a track record of a stable economy, improved physical infrastructure, increased rice production as well as better education, health and housing.