Attorney General says elections winner cannot be declared from recount
Almost two weeks into the national vote recount his leader, President David Granger welcomed, the country’s Attorney General Saturday questioned the purpose of the ongoing exercise.
Williams told reporters on Saturday that there is no law to allow the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to declare a winner based on the final figures coming out of the recount.
“I don’t know of any law that can allow for a winner to be declared from the recount… because none exist,” Williams told reporters Saturday outside the Arthur Chung Conference Center where the national recount is ongoing.
Williams, in proffering his legal opinion, said the 10 declarations already made, including the disputed declaration by District #4 Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, are still legitimate.
But Government nominated GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander on Thursday told reporters that the total figures from the current national vote recount “should” automatically be used to declare a winner of the March 02 general and regional elections.
“All things being equal, it should be automatic” that the figures from current recount would be used to make a declaration.
“I don’t see us doing that,” Alexander said when pressed about possibilities of GECOM using the original declarations and not the recount figures.
The Attorney General, however, pointed to what he claimed were clear attempts by the opposition People’s Progressive Party to manipulate the elections and argued that GECOM cannot use the declaration from the recount to declare a winner in the March 02, 2020 elections.
To this end, he argued that the recount is serving no purpose except to reveal what really occurred on E-Day, a polling exercise that the party had previously said was free, fair and credible.
“The recount serves the purpose of highlighting what occurred on elections day and so far it has shown clearly massive deficiencies on the part of the opposition in gerrymandering these elections,” he added.
The APNU+AFC Coalition, of which Williams is a senior member, had supported the recount exercise but now claims that the party is surprised by allegations of “gerrymandering by the PPP.”
The recount was approved by GECOM following stark rejection of the declaration made by Mingo, with claims that the figures were fictitious and bumped up to give the Coalition a victory in the elections.
Williams is now arguing that although the recount is ongoing, at the end of the process the figures from Mingo and from the other nine Returning Officers will have to be used to declare a winner.
“Under the law, the only way it can be rendered not legitimate is by an elections petition which now calls into question the status and purpose of the national recount and how does it eventuate,” Williams stated.
He said it will be illegal if GECOM renders those declarations illegitimate, something Williams believes GECOM doesn’t have the legal power to do.
“GECOM cannot reverse those concluded decision… there are no laws attending to a national recount that could tell GECOM what to do at the conclusion of the recount.”
Claiming to only be polite in his expressions, the AG said the discrepancies will have to be addressed by GECOM.