Smaller parties consider coalition for 2020 elections

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At least four political parties are in talks to form a coalition to contest the March 02, 2020 General and Regional Elections.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, one of the parties, The Citizenship Initiative (TCI) said it is in negotiations with Change Guyana – led by businessmen Robert Badal and Nigel Hinds – and A New and United Guyana (ANUG), led by Attorney Timothy Jonas and former Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran.

ANUG is already in a partnership with the region-six based Federal United Party (FedUP) led by Attorneys Chandra Sohan and Ryan Crawford.

Rhonda-Ann Lam, Presidential Candidate of TCI, said the parties understand that “it is an uphill task” to win the elections but forming a coalition can help to dislodge the two major political parties.

“That coalition will come after we would have discussed all of the areas I’ve highlighted before: gender, ethnicity, youth inclusivity. All of these things are critical for us and these are founding principles on which TCI stands and therefore they must be looked at and be favourable in order for us to produce a slate which takes into consideration, Guyana’s diversity,” she noted.

TCI and Change Guyana were launched in October while ANUG and FedUP were launched in January 2019.

ANUG at the weekend announced that it has already partnered with the Federal United Party (FedUP) to contest the next elections. In that partnership, ANUG’s Ralph Ramkarran is the Presidential Candidate.

Lam said if the coalition is formed, she is willing to accept a junior position but the candidate’s list must be inclusive.

“TCI is not built on egos, therefore if a coalition –which is the best option for Guyana at this point –means that I have to be seconded to junior positions, I have no issue with that. At the end of the day, it is not what is best for my ego, it is what is best and better for the electorate,” the Presidential Candidate added.

Ideally, TCI is looking for a coalition with ANUG, FedUP and Change Guyana.

The other small parties, the Liberty and Justice Party and The New Movement which were also launched this year have announced that they prefer going to the polls alone.

TCI on Tuesday also launched its manifesto under the theme “An agenda for transformation-2020” based on six pillars of transformation.

Despite it being a long battle if the small party is to win the elections, TCI said it is important to highlight a plan if it is elected to office.

Ruel Johnson, one of the party’s leaders, pointed out that the party wants to push constitutional reform, depoliticize the Guyana Elections Commission and establish a mechanism for shared governance.

One of the party’s leaders, Ruel Johnson

He said shared governance is already provided for in the Constitution of Guyana and outlined how his party will push for an inclusive Government.

“We’re saying, were we to be elected to Government, we’ll use the current prerogative of the Presidency to appoint the Prime Ministerial candidate of the lead Opposition party to a Vice President [position]. The Presidential Candidate of that party will naturally be, in the interest of competitive politics, the Leader of the Opposition,” he noted.

Johnson added that TCI wants to “use the current Constitution to ensure that the other Presidential Candidates of every other parliamentary elected party is going to have a junior ministerial position.”

The party further wants to push for guaranteed housing for Guyanese, access to WiFi, deepen constitutional guarantees of more woman in politics and reduce the powers of the President.

The party will be sharing its manifesto on social media from Christmas Day.

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