The Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM) Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how they will share votes after the March 02 general and regional elections.
The three small parties took a historic step by signing an agreement last month to combine their lists and votes at elections. At the signing of the MOU at the Georgetown Cricket Club on Friday, the parties highlighted that this is continuation of political history of Guyana.
The MoU states that after elections and the official results are declared the parties will calculate the number of seats to the National Assembly earned by each party and any party or parties who would have obtained sufficient votes to be entitled to seats in parliament will nominate its Members of Parliament.
This will be done by a procedure that will be determined by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The MoU states that whichever party wins one or more regional seats but its overall votes earned show that it is entitled to a top up seat, then that party will be entitled to nominate a member of the National Assembly.
Left over votes of each party will entitle the combination of parties to one or more additional seats, the party with the largest number of left over votes will be entitled to nominate the first member of the National Assembly; this will be followed by the party with the second and third largest number of votes.
However, whoever is appointed with left over votes can only vote in Parliament unless all three parties approve.
It states that under no circumstances would its members elected to the National Assembly join the government of the party that obtains the plurality or majority for the purpose of obtaining ministerial or other governmental office or to give the minority government a majority.
Each member of the National Assembly who is appointed by one of the parties pursuant to the left over votes obtained by the three parties will resign as a member of the National Assembly at the time determined by the combination of parties immediately before the convening of the National Assembly.
The MoU also states that the parties can have joint campaigns.
The provision to join two or more lists is catered for in the country’s elections laws, namely Section 22 of the Representation of the Peoples Act.
After elections, the votes will be combined and then calculated and go towards the allocation of seats on Regional Democratic Councils and the National Assembly.
It was also highlighted that the combination of lists will ensure that votes do not go to waste; however, the parties can only combine votes in the regions that they are contesting in together.
Presidential Candidate of TNM, Dr Asha Kissoon, said in discussions with GECOM it was made clear that GECOM will not dictate how the parties join their lists “but they did ask for us to meet with them and let them see what we have agreed before Election Day so they can have an understanding of what will be done.”
Signed copies of the MoU will be sent to GECOM.
Presidential Candidate of ANUG, Ralph Ramkarran, said they are hopeful that GECOM will consult them on the procedure to determine how the seats will be allocated.
“All Section 22 provides for is that we agree to join, we inform the Elections Commission and then there is a combination at the end of the day and so everything else has to be decided upon by the Commission as a procedure how the votes will be counted, how they will be announced, how they will be gathered together in a procedure that the Elections Commission will have to determine now and hopefully we certainly expect that they will consult with us on their procedure before making a final decision,” Ramkarran said.
On a separate note, Presidential Candidate for LJP Lenox Shuman pointed out that while the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and APNU+AFC coalition continue to preach national unity they were both absent from the first ever presidential debate held at the University of Guyana Thursday night.
“We can only take that as their inability to defend their policies and record and that in itself should stand to offend the Guyanese public because ideally what we want is for political parties to work together for this country as the three of us are attempting to do.”