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AFC wants new GECOM Chairman in two weeks, extension to allow fresh voter registration

Headquarters of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Railway Road, Kitty.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Tuesday called for the appointment of a new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman in two weeks.

“The Party now believes that the process of appointing a new Chairman should be undertaken with the utmost urgency and concluded within two weeks,” said that party which is a member of the governing coalition.

The AFC made known its position after Retired Justice James Patterson resigned Monday from the GECOM Chairmanship because the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) found his unilateral appointment by President David Granger flawed and unconstitutional.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has since formally informed Granger that he was willing to meet with him daily until a new Chairman is appointed.

The AFC called for early consultations to be held in good faith between the President and the Leader of the Opposition so that a new Chairman can be appointed “without delay”.

Declaring its respect for the CCJ’s rulings on the constitutionality of Patterson’s appointment and the validity of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion, the AFC welcomed Patterson’s resignation.

“The AFC is committed to the rule of law and to adherence to the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana and is of the view that the resignation of Justice Patterson as Chairman of GECOM subsequent to the Court’s ruling was correct and proper.”

The AFC, which is the second largest party in the governing coalition, contended that the appointment process of a new GECOM Chairman is critical to public confidence in the outcome of the next General and Regional Elections and that “there is no shortage of fit and proper Guyanese persons acceptable across the political divide to fill this position.”

In light of the no-confidence motion, the AFC said it is GECOM, under a new Chairman, that should advise on the earliest date for such an election.

The AFC pledged its support for holding of elections within the shortest possible timeframe advised by GECOM, and urged the Parliamentary opposition to support any reasonable extension of the constitutionally-required period for the holding of elections.

Jagdeo has already said his People’s Progressive Party would not support the holding of elections later than September, 2019, but Granger is insisting on polls after the voters’ list is cleansed through new house-to-house registration.