Jagdeo says Irfaan Ali is constitutionally “deemed” President; no reference to Chief Elections Officer

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2020, 13:12 by Denis Chabrol

PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo (left) and PPP Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday said Guyana’s constitution clearly provides for the People’s Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Irfaan Ali to be declared President.

“It has already been established now that the PPP’s list has the most votes and, therefore, Irfaan Ali is already deemed the President of Guyana. It’s awaiting that section of the Constitution  which says that the Chair of GECOM shall now declare him so as far as we are concerned all of the shenanigans  to prevent the declaration, it will not work because that is the Supreme Law of the country,” Jagdeo said.

He referred to Article 177 (b) which states that where “there are two or more presidential candidates , if more votes are cast in favour of the list in which a person os designated as presidential candidate than in favour of any other list.”

Jagdeo, however, made no reference of the key role of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield in advising the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh.

That provision of the constitution requires  that presidential candidate to be deemed to be elected as president and shall be so declared by the Chairman of the Elections Commission acting only in  accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer , after such advice has been tendered to the Elections Commission at a duly summoned meeting.”

While Jagdeo, who is the PPP’s General Secretary, states that constitutional provision is “is quite clear”, the gazetted order for the recount states that the seven-member Commission has to decide whether to use the data from the recount to compile his report to send back to the commission for certification and declaration of the final results.

Now that all of the results from the 10 electoral districts have been recounted and tabulated, the order requires GECOM to consider the observation reports during that exercise and a report from the three-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) team of scrutineers.

The Constitution also states that the Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question on the validity of an election of a presidency related to his or her qualification.