Political crisis widens with GECOM voting against elections in 90 days
The country has been thrown into further uncertainty with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) voting to continue “normal activity” and to inform the President that new general elections cannot be held by the constitutional deadline.
With the passage of the No Confidence motion on December 21 that toppled the David Granger led Coalition, the Constitution dictates elections in 90 days, putting the deadline at March 21.
On Tuesday, Justice James Patterson, the Chairman of the Commission, voted with the three Government nominated Commissioners for the President to be told that the March 21 deadline cannot be met, that there is no money for the holding of the elections and that GECOM continues with its work programme.
The Opposition PPP has accused GECOM of colluding with the Government to stall elections.
The Government has appealed a High Court decision which declared that the No Confidence vote was legal and valid and that the Government cannot remain in office beyond the constitutional deadline unless there is a vote in the National Assembly by two-thirds of the Members for an extension.
The Chief Justice at the time refused to grant orders sought by the Attorney General for the status quo to remain and to “stay” the enforcement of the Parliamentary No-Confidence vote.
GECOM can get funding for elections with a Parliamentary vote, which the Opposition is inclined to support.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said the Government has shown bad faith and is operating that it is business as usual. And so, he was not clear about whether the Opposition will agree to an extension of the date for elections.
The President has not approached the Opposition Leader to discuss a date for elections; the Government says it is awaiting the outcome of court action, which is certain to go all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice.