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Deadline set for filing Elections Petition

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has until July 3rd, 2015 to file its elections petition.

This deadline was triggered on June 5th, after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) finally published, inter alia, the results of Elections 2015, and the names of persons who are to serve as Members of Parliament (MPs) in the 11th Parliament.

PPPC General Secretary, Clement Rohee, today told Demerara Waves Online News “we are moving in good time,” when asked about the party’s progress in preparing the petition.

As per the National Assembly Validity of Elections Act, an elections petition, filed in the court, is the only legal avenue through which the PPPC can seek to validate its claim that Elections 2015 was rigged and the results incorrect.

The party claims that the process of the election was manipulated in a way to guarantee its defeat. It had requested recounts of results but these were denied after it was determined by GECOM that they had no reasonable cause for the requests.

Demerara Waves Online News understands that GECOM’s legal counsel will not be representing the entity in court as she is not a member of the Bar.

“Our legal advisor is not a member of the bar and will not be able to represent us,” explained a senior GECOM official. “They (the Commission) will have to retain counsel when the time comes,” the official added.

GECOM Chairman, Steve Surujbally, has confirmed that GECOM’s legal advisor will not be representing the election body against the election petition once/if it is filed. Surujbally said that the matter of retaining counsel will be handled by GECOM’s commissioners and that they will not deliberate on the issue until the petition is filed.

Section 5 (1) of the noted Act stipulates that such a petition be “presented within twenty-eight days after the results of the election out of which the matter in question on the petition arose are published in the Gazette.” The final result of Elections 2015 was published on May 16th, but a deadline for filing the petition was not triggered at this time as GECOM did not Gazette the results.

Keith Lowenfield, GECOM’s Chief Election Officer (CEO), had explained that the body opted not to Gazette the results at that time as neither the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) coalition, which won this election, or the PPPC had submitted the names of the persons who are to represent each side in the 11th Parliament.

The coalition, which secured 33 seats in the National Assembly, has since submitted its names, while the PPPC, which won the remaining 32, is still delinquent in this regard.

On June 5th, GECOM published the results of the elections, along with the list of coalition MPs, arguing that it could no longer wait on the PPPC. It is this publishing which triggered the July 3rd deadline.

In the interview today Rohee also said “I cannot say a specific date but we are going to finish well in advance.” Rohee’s statements were confirmed by PPPC executive member and former Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall, during a separate interview. Nandlall, who is preparing the petition, said “the petition is being prepared; when it is ready we will let you know.”

Demerara Waves Online News is informed that the PPPC has retained the services of an Attorney – at – who is well known in Guyana, but now operates overseas.