Draft electoral reforms with PPP executive

Last Updated on Monday, 6 September 2021, 14:41 by Denis Chabrol

Draft legislation for the reform of Guyana’s electoral machinery is with the executive of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), but there is no immediate time-frame when it would be circulated for public consultation, Attorney General Anil Nandlall said Monday.

“It is with the party leadership and I suppose after that process is completed, then the party will engage in public consultation and the government will engage,” he said.

Speaking with reporters, he said the draft was sent to the PPP’s executive two weeks ago to be examined by those with wide experience in electoral matters. “I’m only one person. The membership of the party has vast experience in the electoral process and their input is integral to ensuring that we get it right,” said Mr. Nandlall.

He, on Monday, declined to say what key changes to the Representation of the People Act and other legislation have been recommended, instead saying he preferred to await the end of the process.

The Attorney General had in the past indicated that the legislation would be amended to allow for only the Statements of Poll to be used in tallying the results of general and regional elections, as well as the mandatory publication of Statements of Poll .

Mr. Nandlall said the draft reforms are with the PPP’s leadership for three weeks now. He stressed the importance of getting the legislative reforms “right” and have the “broadest type” of consultations.

Highlighting that the reform of election legislation is a political promise by the PPP, he declined to go into details on the next steps.

The Attorney General had previously stated that the draft reforms would be dispatched to  the opposition, the public through the media, and in the National Assembly where the opposition would get another opportunity to make its views known.

The PPP has said that, based on alleged electoral irregularities at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, the legislation would be amended to minimise the chances of skullduggery.

The opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has also accused the PPP of electoral fraud at last year’s polls. A number of its party members and current and former officials of the Guyana Elections Commission are before the court on electoral fraud charges.