The Guyana Elections Commission on Tuesday afternoon June 16 accepted the recount tabulation as the valid votes cast on Guyana’s March 2 elections. It is the correct and wise decision and in accordance with the law of the country. The declaration would bring the elections almost to a formal conclusion. Still to be done, however, is the final declaration of the count, the distribution of seats to the parliament, and the swearing in of the President. Right now, Dr. Irfaan Ali, the PPP Presidential candidate, is the President Elect.
The commission’s acceptance of the recount (in a 4-3 vote) has led to an order from the Chair Claudette Singh to the Chief Election Chief Elections Officer (CEO) to prepare a final report for declaration of the results. She ordered the CEO to submit the prepared report for the declaration completed by 1 PM on June 18. Then Gecom would consider it and take a vote. Then the Chair would advise the head of the judiciary, the Chancellor, to swear in Dr. Irfaan Ali as the President.
The memo to Singh specifically mentioned that he used the valid votes based on the results of the recently concluded National Recount, which lasted for over 33 days.
Lowenfield that submitted an earlier report comprising of two sets of tabulations – one with the valid votes and another with votes minus numbers Lowenfield interpreted as anomalous (irregularities) as per complaints made by the ruling APNU. The valid votes from the 2,339 Statements of Recount (SORs) show that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won the March 2 General Election with 233,336 votes cast in its favour. The APNU/AFC secured 217,920 votes. For the new parties, the numbers are as follows: A New and United Guyana – 2313; Change Guyana –1953; Liberty and Justice Party – 2657; People’s Republic Party – 889; The Citizen’s Initiative – 680; The New Movement – 244; and the United Republican Party – 360. Thre small parties combined their votes allowing them to win one seat. The PPP won 33 seats while APNU won 31 seats.
The Chair rightly said GECOM is not a court of law and has no jurisdiction to hear allegations of irregularities.
The Chair had no other option than to use the recount to declare the outcome of the elections. She was under immense international pressure. She was under the microscope. The whole world was watching her behavior an in support of the Recount being used as the basis for declaration of Election results. The US and other western democracies as well as regional organizations were urging the Chair to make a declaration from the recount exercise.
If Lowenfield does his job right, as he must, the final declaration could be made Thursday afternoon. Irfaan Ali could be sworn in right after that perhaps as early as the afternoon. Lowenfield cannot use any other numbers than those from the valid votes of SORs.
The nation had complained that APNU repeatedly insulted their intelligence by declaring themselves victor from March 2 evening thru May 6. Then when the recount was showing a PPP victory, APNU changed its narrative that the PPP was involved in fraud on election day. No credible evidence was submitted to substantiate the fraud.
Since March 2, the population or supporters for the opposition were struggling for the right to have their ballots be counted accurately. Many risked their lives in that struggle; one was killed and several beaten.
Several officers in Gecom were ‘aiding & abetting’ electoral fraud. They were exposed but remained shameless.Whenever Irfaan is sworn in, he become Guyana’s 9th President.