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Commonwealth calls for use of Representation of People Act to conduct national recount of votes

The Commonwealth Observer Group on Thursday called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to conduct a national vote recount in “strict” compliance with the Representation of the People Act (RoPA).

“The RoPA is unambiguous and specific on the technical modalities by which a general final count is bound and we strongly urge the leadership of GECOM not to depart from these legal stipulations,” the group said in a statement.

GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj on Wednesday said based on the contents of a draft recount plan he saw, the exercise would be done in accordance with the law. The draft plan says Sections 83, 84 (6) to (11) and 87 and 89 of the RoPA would be used.

The Commonwealth called on GECOM to ensure that the recount is done in a credible, transparent and timely manner, “bearing in mind that the people of Guyana have now waited an unconscionable 45 days to bring this electoral process to finality.”

“This delay in credibly concluding the electoral process is now even more alarming as the entire world seeks to contend with the disruptive and devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on economic, social and political life,” the Commonwealth Observer Mission states.

The Commonwealth Observer Group commends the people of Guyana for peacefully exercising their right to vote for the Government of their choice on 2 March.

“This is a sacred constitutional and universal human right. The rights of the Guyanese people will be respected when a general final count is credibly administered in accordance with the law and given full effect,” the observer mission.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which is the disciplinary body of the grouping of former British colonies, has already expressed concern about the political situation in Guyana arising from the questionable tabulation process for votes cast in Region Four.