GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 2, CMC – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) late Monday night hinted at the possibility of the results of the regional and general elections being made available to the public on Tuesday, as it confirmed that counting of ballots was taking place across all 10 regions.
GECOM chief elections officer, Keith Lowenfield, told a news conference that while there had been some developments, including a police investigation into an incident during the voting period, overall, they did not affect the peaceful atmosphere as an estimated 660, 998 persons were eligible to vote at the 2, 339 polling stations across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
Lowenfield told reporters he is hoping that the counting process “goes smoothly and the statements derived are transported and that the boxes in which those votes are, they are taken to the safe location for safety.
“As it relates to a time for final declarations…it is the Commission’s desire to have the final declaration of results in the earliest possible time. I will not commit to a date and time except to say that as the process moves I am strongly assuming by tomorrow midday all the arrows would have had their declarations in the respective districts. That is as far as I would go in this point in time relative to time elements for the final declarations,” he said.
GECOM said that it would be posting on a secure website that “would go live immediately: with updates on the tabulations and that the results would also be sent to media houses via email.
Unlike most of the other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Guyana does not use the “first past the post system in electing its government, relying instead on proportional representation.
The political parties were required to submit three separate lists to contest both the general and regional elections, with the elections to the National Assembly being drawn from two lists, namely the National Top-Up List and the 10 Geographic Constituency lists.
A total of 40 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the National Top Up list and following the elections, the total number of valid votes cast is divided into 40 and parties are allocated seats according to who has the greatest number of votes.
A total of 25 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the Geographic Constituency lists and the parties allocated seats according to who has the greatest number of votes.
GECOM said that nine political parties are contesting the general elections, while 11 are participating in the regional poll.
Political observers say the contest is a straight fight between the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) headed by President David Granger and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), whose presidential candidate is the former housing minister Ifraan Ali.
GECOM chair , retired Justice Claudette Singh, told reporters that the election “was a long journey, but now we are almost at the end of that journey.
“I am very pleased today. I visited several polling stations, of course there were long lines but the GECOM staff …they came forward and assisted and quickly the lines disappeared,” she said, adding “until now we have not heard about anything untoward.
“Of course there were minor incidents but nothing incidental,” she said, urging the media to refrain from engaging in any sensational reporting regarding the elections.
“Because at this time we are in a charge atmosphere and so we have to be careful how we go about spreading stories, we must always verify our stories before we publish them,” she said, warning that these thing could escalate to violence and mistrust”.
The elections are being monitored by local, regional and international observer teams.