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Ramotar denies about to concede defeat, insists on total national recount of votes

Left to right: Dharamkumar Seeraj, Omar Sharif, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Charles Ramson Jr and Neend ‘Neil’ Kumar.

President Donald Ramotar late Friday night dubbed as a “lie” reports in sections of the media that he has decided to concede defeat in the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, even as his political party was unprepared to entertain the idea of challenging the 2015 election results in the High Court

“That’s a lie. That’s not true,” he said, adding that he has not spoken with the diplomatic community for the day. In a statement, the PPP reiterated that the President said he won the elections and so he had not conceded. “The People’s Progressive Party refutes reports in the media that Head of State, President Donald Ramotar is preparing to concede electoral defeat to opposition leader David Granger. Any such insinuation is grossly inaccurate and the agenda of such media houses further arouse suspicion.

The PPP said the President continues to hold the position that a national recount of the votes cast is most important to ensure the genuine will of the electorate is respected and our democracy is preserved.

At a news conference held Friday night, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) ratcheted up its demand for a total recount of all votes cast after it said the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) refused recount 21 boxes for which there were alleged discrepancies in Statements of Poll. 

“We have frustrated more than 200,000 people who voted for the PPPC and they deserve to have their votes counted and not subtracted…The PPPC has more than 200,000 that we represent and we speak for them, we want their Xs counted period,” he said when asked why the party was refusing to concede in the face of calls by the Private Sector Commission,  Guyana Bar Association, Transparency Institute of Guyana (TIGI) and the Justice Institute of Guyana. The American, British and Canadian missions here have said that a probe of allegations and nothing has been found that would change the outcome of the polls.

The PPP believes that GECOM is refusing to have a recount because its integrity and credibility are at stake.

Reacting to GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally’s claim that a comparison between the PPP’s 21 Statements of Poll and those in the commission’s possession revealed that the numbers were identical, the PPP said the problem was with the Poll Statements that have been submitted by the District Returning Officers. The PPP also wants GECOM to release a spreadsheet of the 2,229 boxes used to calculate the results to be published so that there can be a 100 percent comparison with the Statements of Poll.

So what’s next? PPPC candidate and Attorney-at-Law, Charles Ramson suggested that his party was not about to risk  challenging  the results through an Elections Petition to the High Court. “You have been around long enough to know that the point upon which declaration is made, it’s the end game. That’s the end of the story…and that is why we have been arguing from the get-go… that a recount should be done before a declaration is made.

“The reason being that the point upon which a declaration is made, that is when you have a new President so any attempt to go to use the legal machinery would be for the purpose of making a petition to annul the elections,” said Ramson.

Attorney-at-Law, Basil Williams, who is a candidate for the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition, has said that the court could not block the official declaration of results because the law states that challenging the results have to be done by an Elections Petition.

The PPP has been consistently refusing to reveal any possible legal maneuvers to block the official declaration of the winner of the May 12,2015  general elections expected during Saturday afternoon  if no party objects to the declarations made by the District Returning Officers.

The party says a number of District Returning Officers’ (DROs) reduced the votes cast for the PPPC and increased those for the coalition as part of a calculated plot by the opposition to rig the elections. “It has always been an increase of ten or multiples of ten on the APNU+AFC side and it has been a decrease of ten or multiples of ten on the PPPC side,” said Ramson. The PPPC contends that the preliminary results announced earlier by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield were different from those in the possession of the DROs.

PPP Executive Member, Neend ‘Neil’ Kumar told a news conference that the PPP estimates that it has lost about 3,000 votes on the East Bank Demerara based on a pattern of discrepancies.

Preliminary results released by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Thursday show that 201,457 persons voted for the PPPC and 206,817 votes for A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).