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APNU+AFC coalition’s list of candidates now fulfills gender requirement

Representative of APNU+AFC coalition list of candidates, Professor Harold Lutchman (left) presenting the list of candidates to Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

The opposition coalition initially failed to meet the legal requirement for the number of women on its list of candidates for next month’s general and regional elections, according to a senior official of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

According to the source, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) submitted a list of 75 candidates of which only 14 were women on Nomination Day, Tuesday April 7, 2015.

The GECOM official said the coalition on Thursday submitted the names of 11 women, to meet the requirement of the Representation of the People Act that one-third of the candidates must be of that gender.

APNU+AFC coalition Chief Scrutineer, Amna Ally told Demerara Waves Online News that with the additional women, the list of candidates is now 96 and the coalition has satisfied the constitutional requirement.  “We have satisfied our proportionality with regards to gender,” she told Demerara Waves Online News.

Ally said there were a number of reasons for the list initially not having at least one-third women but she declined to go into details. “It is not a big issue,” she said.

The Representative of the List, Professor Harold Lutchman has been described as the “custodian” who would inform the Chief Elections Officer of those who would be selected to become parliamentarians after the leaders of APNU and AFC would have agreed on the names.

The discrepancy on the APNU+AFC list was observed by officials of the elections management authority the same day that parties submitted their candidates to the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

According to the source, only the coalition’s list did not initially meet the gender requirement.

The Representation of the People Act says the total number of females on each party’s national top-up list shall be at least one-third of the total number of persons on that list. The law also states that the total number of females on any party’s lists for geographical constituencies, taken together, shall be at least one-third of the total number of persons on those lists taken together for the geographical constituencies in which that party is contesting.