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APNU+AFC supports 48-hour election result window; rejects any attempts to delay

by Zena Henry

The A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition has rejected any possible attempts to delay the announcement of the country’s General and Regional Election results, just hours away.

The Guyana Election Commission has suggested a 48-hour time-span-at best by Wednesday morning- should be enough before citizens know who their next president is.

However, with recent statements about the consideration of court action to block the official declaration of results by the Chief Elections Officer, executive member of the Coalition, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine has indicated that that would not be a wise idea since it would be in that period that the country would be most vulnerable.

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) during a recent press briefing at their party headquarters complained bitterly about irregularities they said occurred during voting by the security forces last Sunday. They complained that the occurrences were against the law, and left wide open the option of moving to the High Court to block the declaration of Election results if they felt cheated.

General Secretary, Clement Rohee did not rule out if that was an option when the question was put to him. “I can’t say that now I don’t want to be that anticipatory …What if we win?” he responded. He stated too that, “I can’t pronounce on that in this stage and time. Everything has to be looked in a context and we will look at the developments as the developments evolve.”

To this, Roopnarine said, “I don’t believe the law permits such things.” He noted too that statements are made public at polling stations before being sent over to the Election Commission which gives the official results.

“You have to declare the results, you don’t want to hold a long lapse of time, it is in that hiatus where you don’t have a Commander in Chief and a whole lot of things… and a lot of mischief can happen.”

Roopnarine explained that the Deputy Returning Officer will send the statement of polls to the Returning Officers of the various regions. “Those Returning Officers will make the declaration of results as Returning Officers. They then go to GECOM where the results are compiled, tallied and tabulated for the final declaration.”

Roopnarine said that they have to get the SOPs in from the interior which is usually the cause for much of the delay. “I don’t anticipate that we should be waiting beyond 48 hrs. I think 48 hours is ample time taking into consideration SOPs, coming from regions one, seven, eight and nine into GECOM.”

According to Roopnarine a concern among some foreign bodies here observing the election is the minimum amount of time taken to declare the results and swear in the president.

The PPP had claimed that during the voting of security forces a balloting agent wore an opposition cross and the poor quality of pencils used. They claimed over 200 ranks had voted without identification cards and another polling agent took the ballot paper out to a vehicle to allow an elector to vote and returned the ballot to the box.