Politicians must reach consensus on voters list – EU Election Observer Mission

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 May 2023, 22:36 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana’s political parties first have to decide on the method of cleaning the voters list before deciding on the use of biometric verification of voters at polling stations , a three-member European Union (EU) follow-up 2020 Election Observer Mission said Wednesday.

“First, what needs to be agreed upon by the stakeholders is how to see which of the two options may be  adopted for improving the voter register and once that is done, you can talk about the biometric voter registration,” Alexander Matus, Team Leader- Electoral Expert he told a news conference.

He said the options of improving the existing register continuously or generating a new register are “possible” but the mission would not take a side. He restated that the EU’s Observation Mission believed that the political actors must reach consensus among the political actors on how to go forward in improving the voter register.

In clear reference to the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), Chief of Mission, EU parliamentarian Javier Nart appealed to them to find a way of working together. “They have to act in good faith and they have to act in a common political will that it means that the decisions that have to be taken ,they have to have a strategic view,” he said.

Mr Nart urged the political stakeholders to put Guyana first. “It is not like you say ‘how much can I get from this’ but how much inclusiveness and stability the country can get…,” he said.

In light of a High Court ruling that it would be unconstitutional to remove the names of persons from the national register unless they are dead or otherwise declared ineligible, the opposition has publicly pledged to support the necessary amendments to Guyana’s constitution as well as legislation for the use of biometric verification at polling stations to avoid voter impersonation. The governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP), for its part has said that such amendments would have to await the constitutional reform process, but on the issue of biometric verification the incumbent party maintains that there are sufficient safeguards at polling stations to prevent voter impersonation in the names of migrants and deceased persons.