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Jagdeo set to hit the election campaign trail

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo appears set to hit the campaign trail on the Corentyne early next month, even as his ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) mulls a petition for him to be named prime ministerial candidate.

PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee told a news conference on Tuesday that the party would likely respond to the petition during the campaign for the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

“Well, I have been asking questions. I have indeed seen a copy of the petition. I have had discussions to get further clarification. I have transmitted the petition to the executives of our party and they are looking at it right now. We will probably be responding to them on the campaign,” said Rohee.

The petition by 6,000 persons from Corentyne also comes at a time when there is a pending High Court case in which an ordinary citizen, Cedric Richardson, has challenged the constitutionality of two-term limit to being eligible for election as president. Court papers specifically name Jagdeo.

Barring the launch of the PPP’s campaigner sooner, Jagdeo’s first major appearance during the political season would be on March 8 at Babu John Crematorium, Port Mourant for the annual ceremony to celebrate the lives of PPP co-founders and late presidents Cheddi and Janet Jagan. That event in and out of electioneering is used as an opportunity by speakers to bash the opposition.

Jagdeo has repeatedly ruled out seeking constitutional office again. Guyana’s constitution states that a prime minister must be eligible to become president.

Former Chairman of the Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC), Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran has said that the case challenging the two-term limit has no merit.

Richardson wants the court to find that that amendment is unconstitutional because it was not done by a referendum but rather by two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly.