ANUG wants elections to ease racial, political tension

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A new political party is calling on the Government and Opposition to move ahead with elections in November as was initially proposed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in an effort to ease the racial and political tension in the country.

This is despite the March 22 Court ruling that the December 21st No-Confidence motion was not validly passed and so the Government is no longer under pressure to hold elections this year unless theCourt of Appeal decision is overturned.

A New and United Guyana (ANUG) says the No-Confidence vote against the Government has generated heightened political and ethnic tension and that “investors have adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude so that the economy is suffering and livelihoods are at stake.”

“We think it’s a crisis and the crisis is not only the question of the No-Confidence motion and its aftermath but the development of tension in the community…it’s a political tension and it is aggravating our ethnic discord in the country,” Ralph Ramkarran, Executive Member of ANUG and former Speaker of the National Assembly told News Room in an interview Tuesday.

“If it persists for too long a period, it might explode into violence,” he added.

ANUG proposed that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) agree to a date for elections given the fact that GECOM has already indicated its readiness for late November.

“The date agreed to between the political parties should prevail whatever decision is made by the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice),” ANUG noted.

Holding elections, Ramkarran said will require compromise from both the Government and the Opposition.

“The coalition will not get their full (five-year) term, they will have to lose a few months and the PPP won’t have its date in March…so both of them will make a compromise,” he explained.

According to Ramkarran, while it is unlikely that the proposals will be taken seriously, supporters can push the political parties to hold elections early.

The PPP had proposed that elections be held before April 30, 2019, when the current Voters List expires.

On March 22, two of three judges ruled that an absolute majority of 34 persons instead of 33 were needed to pass the No-Confidence motion on December 21.

The Opposition has since noted that it will challenge the ruling at Guyana’s final appellate court, the CCJ.

IS ANUG READY?

Launched only three months ago, ANUG will be challenged to be ready for elections in November, however, Ramkarran sai:d “we are working towards that.”

Asked if he is confident that his party will be able to garner votes, Ramkarran said that ANUG will do “exceptionally well” at the polls.

“Our interaction with the community so far suggests that especially young people are very fed up with this situation and they are looking for something new,” the politician told the News Room.

The former Speaker of the National Assembly stated that ANUG will not offer itself while saying to people to boycott the other parties. Instead, it will force the two major parties to work together.

“We are saying that these two parties are bad but they’re all we have and they enjoy the support of the bulk of the population so what we have to do is work with these two parties and try to bring them together for the benefit of the nation,” he explained.

“We do not want to destroy them, we want to make them work together,” Ramkarran added.

ANUG hopes that it can split the votes and obtain one or two seats in the 65-seat National Assembly.

In this way, neither of the major parties will obtain an absolute majority and ANUG will be able to decide who gets the majority in the voting process.

Elections are constitutionally due in 2020 unless the CCJ rules that the December 21 No-Confidence motion was validly passed.

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