‘Disappointed’ PPP will ‘work’ towards March 2 elections – Jagdeo
The opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) on Thursday afternoon appeared to accept the March 02 date announced by President David Granger for general elections, with the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo saying he is giving the President the benefit of the doubt.
“We are disappointed, but we have to work towards that date,” Jagdeo said at a press conference held at his Church Street, Georgetown office.
The PPP had expressed reservations about the date, given the choice of words used by the President. The President Wednesday night said “the earliest possible” date for elections is March 2.
The PPP determined that that was not a definitive date but President Granger Thursday morning clarified that March 02 is indeed the definitive date.
The Opposition Leader maintained that the PPP will not attend Parliament. The Government is seeking to hold a Parliamentary session to extend the elections date, since it falls way outside of the three months the Constitution requires upon the passage of a No-Confidence motion.
But Jagdeo said the PPP will not be “blackmailed” into attending Parliament, because in seeking Parliamentary approval for an extended elections date, the President is seeking to extend the life of his Government and therefore give legal cover for all that has happened since December 21 when the No Confidence motion was passed.
Following legal challenges to the No-Confidence Motion, the effective start date of the elections timetable began on June 18 with the final ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
That meant elections should have been held by September 18. That date could only have been extended with a vote of 2/3 of the National Assembly.
On Thursday morning, President Granger said whether the PPP returns to Parliament, elections will be held on March 02.
The Opposition Leader said a return to Parliament is wholly unnecessary since the Government is in caretaker mode and its only authority should be to “do everything necessary” for elections.
He said the President has the authority to proclaim the elections date and dissolve Parliament and doesn’t need Parliamentary approval for that.
Jagdeo said the PPP will be moving aggressively into campaigning.
He is pleased that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will begin the Claims and Objections period on October 1. He said this is the “right” process for persons not yet registered to do so and to make any changes needed to their information, whether it be a change of name or address. The period also allows for the names of dead persons to be removed.
“I want to urge all Guyanese to utilize this process fully,” Jagdeo stated.
He said too that he was “extremely pleased” that GECOM has agreed to invite the international community to participate in the machinery of GECOM as well as to be observers, saying the GECOM Secretariat needed “impartial” and “watchful eyes.”