Confirmed: Norton beats Harmon by landslide to take over leadership of PNC/R
Career politician Aubrey Norton, who was once famously booted out of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) over a few dollars and was sidelined over the years by being left out of Parliament, decisively won the leadership elections held on Saturday.
Norton’s win sets up a potential showdown as he was one of those who now former leader David Granger did not pick for a Parliamentary seat after the party lost the last general elections.
Official results announced on Sunday afternoon showed Norton beating the current Opposition Leader Joseh Harmon by 722 votes.
The conversation among party members Sunday morning was whether Norton should now control power by also becoming the Opposition Leader with the PNC/R being the main political force in the APNU+AFC Coalition.
Norton is also not the leader of the Coalition just yet. Granger, as leader of the last list submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission for the Coalition, controls who is given a seat in Parliament.
Granger was effectively booted out, securing no nomination to return as leader.
Harmon has said that he doesn’t intend to give up the Opposition Leader post although he can be removed on a 1/3 vote of No Confidence by opposition members in Parliament.
Granger, Norton and Harmon will have to address these issues when the official results are declared.
Norton, with 967 votes, will officially be declared winner on Monday and will be installed as leader.
Harmon secured just 245 votes while the third contender for the top post, Dr Richard Van-West Charles, secured just 64 votes.
It was a clean sweep for Norton. His candidate for Chairman, Shurwayne Holder, is set to be declared and installed as Chairman of the party.
He secured 407 votes ahead of his opponents Roysdale Forde with 256 and Amanza Walton-Desir with 217 votes.
Holder’s victory came as a surprise to some who view him as a new comer when compared to the other candidates who campaigned for the post.
The party will now have to resolve the issue of a tie for the second Vice Chairman post. Christopher Jones and Vinceroy Jordan have both secured the same amount of votes for the position.
Elizabth Niles-Williams has already copped one of the spots with Jones’ and Jordan’s fate to be decided by the party.
Chief Elections Officer Vincent Alexander took time to explain the delay in making the preliminary declaration which was promised several hours prior.
He told a virtual news conference it was not due to any internal negotiations or interventions but merely to ensure that it was a true reflection of the actual count. That counting process is still ongoing in at least one region which has stalled the declaration of persons elected to the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the main decision-making body in the party.
A total of 1, 282 votes were cast with a 100 percent turnout in Madhia and almost 100 percent in North America.
Alexander said the elections were free and fair, something he claimed was “quite an achievement for the PNC” and an example for Guyana.