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Opposition coalition yet to agree on symbol

The opposition coalition plans to retain the names of the two major parties but will not be allowed to have two symbols on the ballot paper as this will be a violation of the Representation of the Peoples Act, officials said Friday.

Co-Campaign member, Raphael Trotman told a news conference that the coalition would be going into the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections with their individual identities – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – Alliance For Change (APNU-AFC).

While they have not yet agreed on one symbol for the coalition, Trotman said it would include APNU’s palm of the hand and AFC’s key.  Already, APNU’s palm has the symbols of several parties that are members of that partnership.

“The last thing we would do is confuse the electorate with something that is new and unknown and so whatever happens these two symbols will feature prominently on the ballot paper subject off course to confirmation with the electoral laws,” he said, adding that neither symbol would be “diminished or desecrated.” He said that would run the risk of confusing the electorate.

He said the coalition would be announcing its name, symbol and slogan at a media launch to be held on March 4, 2014 days before a public rally launch. Trotman later added that the name would remain the APNU-AFC coalition, partly to secure each party’s identity. “We are not going to play around with our identities,” he said.

Co-Campaign Manager (APNU), Joseph Harmon added that the coalition agreement, The Cummingsburg Accord, provides for APNU and AFC to maintain their identities. He said voters prefer to see their symbols on the ballot  although the coalition would be contesting with a single slate of candidates and one manifesto.

Trotman said he and other senior APNU-AFC politicians were aware of the rules governing the crafting and usage of symbols.  He said a focus group was collecting and considering symbols after “soundings” and “sampling” by the two national parties.

Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield said parties would not be allowed to use more than one symbols on the ballot paper because that would illegal. “No party can have more than one symbol. It’s improper, it’s illegal.When you join, you have to come up with one symbol for what we call a joinder of parties,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.