The unofficial results of the recount of the ballots of the March 2 elections are out. The public count showed PPP received 15,461 votes more than APNU-led coalition. The report from the Caricom Scrutineers Team (CST) says the election was crdible, confirmed that the PPP won, and advised declaration of the results from the reocunt. But the CEO of Gecom, Keith Lowenfield, who is batting for the coalition, says the results are not credible. But the global community accepts the results and urge the declaration that the PPP has won. The world advises swearing in of Dr. Irfaan Ali as President.
The results of the election may be tied up a little longer to become official. But for now, Dr. Irfaan is considered President Elect. The Guyana constitution says the candidate with the most votes is “Deemed President”.
Those of us who study political science would know that the term used for the winner of an election until such time he or she is declared the official winner, is “Presumed Elected”. “President Elect” is also used until the swearing in, which is same as ‘Deemed President’. Such terms are used in every country with a Presidential system. They are honorific titles used right after an election once the votes are counted. The incumbent is referred to as ‘outgoing’ or ‘lame duck’ and in the US the norm is he gracefully bows out. Granger is outgoing and a lame duck; he must do the honorable thing and resign.
The above terms became popular in usage in the US going back to November 1980 after the election of Ronald Reagan. I was finishing my Biochem degree while also taking political science courses (to prepare myself for graduate study in international relations) and remember the history well. President Jimmy Carter, the man who saved Guyana democracy in October 1992, instantly became a lame duck on the evening of the election, and the front page of papers were emblazoned with landslide and President Elect Reagan.
Jagdeo is right to flash Deemed President because Irfaan had the most votes and the constitution does say the candidate with the most votes wins the Presidency and forms the government. (The Carter Center and US Congress or some other respected elders or bodies may be needed to save democracy given rumor mills of resistance to accept the recount that showed Dr. Irfaan Ali is the President Elect).
Those of us who study politics would know that the terms President Elect, Presumed President, Deemed President are appropriately used. In any law abiding country, a candidate the that wins an election right after the count is considered to have been elected (President Elect). The outgoing President (incumbent), also known as a lame duck and or the defeated candidates offer congratulations and they may exchange pleasantries. A transition team is normally put in place for the inevitable transfer of power. Only power grabbers would want to stay on after defeat in an election.
Guyana is not Zimbabwe or some other banana republic where Presidents who lost elections refused to concede or want to have it redone for another chance. A respected President does not seek a rerun after losing an election.
It is indisputable from the recount that Irfaan Ali won the Presidency. The counting and recounting were transparent. The whole world accepts that the PPP won the elections. Irfaan is therefore President Elect. The opposition parties have rightly congratulated the PPP for the victory and people are appropriately using the term President Elect in referring to Irfaan. When Gecom makes it official and after Irfaan is sworn in he becomes President.
There is much tension in Guyana. To reduce anxiety, Granger should phone Irfaan and offer congrats and pledge his cooperation — concede power and bow out gracefully! Congratulations Dr. Irfaan and team headed by Jagdeo for a well fought victory.I wish the incoming President and PPP team all the best.