Internet Radio

Carter Centre calls on GECOM to clarify vote tabulation procedures, allow party scrutineers and observers

Jason Carter of the Carter Centre speaking to reporters outside the Guyana Elections Commission. (file photo)

The Carter Centre on Thursday called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to make clear the procedures for tabulating results of the March 2 general elections.

“The Carter Center has been discussing the tabulation procedures with GECOM’s secretariat and feels that the procedures in place appear to follow the legal provisions. However, the Center is concerned that the procedures have not been made clear to key stakeholders,” the United States-headquartered non-governmental organisation said.

The Centre, whose observer mission is here at the invitation of the Guyana government, cited the need for party representatives and observers to be involved in the tabulation process. The Carter Centre says tabulating results is an integral phase of the electoral process that ensures that the will of the voters is accurately and comprehensively reflected in the final results.

“Clear and detailed explanations of procedures – with key safeguards for transparency, including explicit provisions allowing for party scrutineers and observers at all stages – are critical,” said the Centre which has been observing Guyana’s elections since 1992.

The Center encourages GECOM to publicise and distribute existing procedures as widely as possible, including to all political parties, civil society organizations, media, and electoral observers, in order to clarify any misunderstandings and avoid disputes over the process.

Against the background of the fact that there are two sources of registrants – the existing National Register of Registrants and the truncated house-to-house registration exercise last July and August – the Centre hopes that all the work undertaken will ensure the utmost accuracy in the Official List of Electors to ensure a smooth polling day.

Citing concerns about the increased rhetoric on the campaign trail, including the use of language that some allege is inflammatory, the Carter Centre encourages political parties and candidates to refrain from the use of provocative speech to help guarantee a peaceful polling process.

The Centre welcomes the introduction of a code of conduct by the Ethnic Relations Commission. The code calls on all parties to refrain from using any words or engaging in actions that might stoke tension or be offensive.

The Centre commends all 11 of the parties competing in the election publicly commit to abide by the code of conduct at a signing ceremony on February 13.