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Opposition plans to return to post-election coalition

AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes addressing the rally at Damon Square, Anna Regina.

Guyana’s opposition coalition intends to change the constitution to allow for parties to team up after a general election to prevent the one with the plurality from forming the government, a top official of the Alliance For Change (AFC) said Saturday.

AFC Chairman, Nigel Hughes signaled the coalition’s intention to do so at a rally at Anna Regina where the opposition’s Presidential Candidate, David Granger also appealed to Essequibians to vote overwhelmingly for the coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) on May 11, 2015.

Hughes suggested that the constitutional amendment that in 1964 permitted a post-election coalition between the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the United Force (UF) should be reintroduced.

“After five decades, we have a constitution that says if you don’t get a majority, you cannot wait until after the elections to come together and form a coalition because if that had happened and if we had those provisions in the constitution, we would have had President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo since 2011 so we must understand the things we have to change,” he said. Aspects of Guyana’s Constitution cannot be amended unless they are supported by at least 43 of the 65 elected parliamentarians.

Although the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) lost its majority by one seat at the November, 2011 election to the combined opposition with 33 seats, the President appointed a cabinet and ran the country as if his party had enjoyed a simple majority.  Opposition-piloted and approved laws and motions were for the most part ignored.

Meanwhile, Granger begged Essequibians to vote in their numbers for APNU+AFC this time around unlike what they had done in 2011. “Don’t do what you did in 2011 give those 12,000 votes and I3,000; do not do it again,” he told the rally held at Damon Square, a very short distance away from the 

Hughes said the time has come to erase constitutional provisions that make the president immune from legal action and give him absolute power.

In the Cummingsburg Accord that established the pre-election coalition, APNU and AFC have agreed to pursue constitutional reform if elected to office in just over one month from now.