European Union election observer mission urges declaration from recount

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2020, 15:18 by Denis Chabrol

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) on Wednesday said it expected the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to use the recount data to declare the final results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

“The EU EOM trusts GECOM to expeditiously conclude the electoral process in accordance with the data resulting from the recount as per gazetted Order No. 60 of 2020 and its addendum,” the mission states.

The call came against the background of General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Joseph Harmon stating that his coalition wants valid votes to be declared by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield. “In my view, the CEO cannot declare anything other than valid votes and in his determination of what are valid votes, we would need to see those reports of the Chief Elections Officer reflected in the way those votes are tallied,” Harmon has said.

But, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Executive Member, Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall said the law clearly states that the Chief Elections Officer and Commissioner of Registration is obliged to obey all instructions by the Commission. Nandlall also referred to the legal definition of a valid ballot.

“He has no legal latitude to do anything else,” Nandlall said of Lowenfield.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) also called on President, David Granger and Leader of APNU-Alliance For Change “to recognize the decision of the Chairman of GECOM as promised by him and to publicly concede to the results of the Elections.”

“There is a notion being peddled that the Chief Election Officer can function independently of, or can countermand a direction of the Commission. It is, perhaps, this mistaken belief which may have produced the further misconception that the Chief Election Officer has a power to determine the validity of votes,” Nandlall says.

The umbrella business organisation called on the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), APNU+AFC and all of the contesting political parties to ensure that their respective supporters recognize and accept the results of the elections and remain calm, peaceful and, now, join hands together to collectively meet the enormous economic, political and Covid-19 challenges to move Guyana forward.

The EU OM said the report by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) observer team that scrutinised the recount reflects the findings of the EU EOM, which in its final report concluded that voting and counting were well managed all over the country, as was the tabulation of results in nine of Guyana’s ten regions. The EU observer mission noted that the integrity of the entire electoral process was seriously compromised by the tabulation of results in Region 4 by senior GECOM officials.

Lowenfield is Thursday afternoon at 1 PM expected to deliver his report to the GECOM Chairman after which a formal declaration of the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections would be made.

The GECOM Chairman has already made it clear that the Commission does not have the constitutional power to investigate allegations or scrap the elections as those are matters for the High Court.