Elections 2020: EU says 2 of 26 recommendations fully implemented
In a final report handed over to the government in March 2021, one year after the 2020 elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) made 26 recommendations for improving national elections.
And more than three years after those protracted elections, the EU has deployed an Election Follow-up Mission (EU EFM) to Guyana to assess the progress of those recommendations.
Headed by Javier Nart, the follow up mission hosted a press conference on Wednesday in Georgetown and reported that two of the 26 recommendations were fully implemented while many more were partially implemented.
Some remain untouched to date but the mission hopes there is enough will among the Guyanese people and politicians to address them ahead of the 2025 elections.
Electoral Analyst, Alexander Matus, said the fully implemented recommendations were for a clear tabulation process to be outlined and increased transparency in the results process.
He said this was achieved with the government’s amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act and the National Registration Act.
Those amendments also allowed for the partial implementation of a recommendation urging year-round voter registration with the Guyana Elections Commission now having registration offices open for 10 months each year.
He was pleased too that the government has moved towards adopting data protection with the Data Protection Bill recently tabled in the National Assembly. It is yet to be debated and passed.
Nart was particularly concerned with those untouched recommendations among which is accountability in campaign financing by publicising donors and putting a limit on what political parties spend during their campaigns to ensure a level playing field.
Nart also pressed, as urgent, the discontinuation through clear guidelines the use of state assets by political parties, mostly those in government, during election campaigning.
“It is something that happens all the time,” he said while also pointing to the need for all political parties to have access to public media. The EU had recommended transformation of the state media into a genuine public service broadcaster.
The re-configuration of the seven-member GECOM remains on the cards flowing from a recommendation to overhaul GECOM.
And according to Legal Analyst, Anne Marlborough, there were some legal recommendations that also remained untouched, including enshrining into local law the rights of persons with disabilities and regional and international conventions on corruption.
Marlborough commended efforts to address the fragmented nature of election laws and said the EU welcomes efforts towards harmonisation.
The mission pointed to the fact that constitutional reform has not gotten off the ground and that has stalled altogether, electoral reform.
The EU EOM also urged the establishment of a comprehensive election dispute resolution system. The mission said the implementation of the recommendations remains useful for a better conduct of future elections.
These sentiments were expressed during meetings with stakeholders earlier this week.
Meetings were held with Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton and Chairman of the main opposition party – the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Volda Lawrence,
Meetings were also held with Ministers of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd.