Quick facts about Guyana's Regional and General Elections
Around 660,998 Guyanese are scheduled to go to the polls today to elect new representatives in the Regional and General Elections.
That figure is expected to be much lower since the electoral list contains the names of people who have died.
Successful candidates will fill 65 seats in the National Assembly.
Eleven parties are contesting the elections but polls suggest that the race is between the ruling A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition and the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
These elections were triggered in December 2018 after the APNU+AFC lost its one-seat majority in Parliament when MP Charandas Persaud voted to support the PPP/C’s Motion of No Confidence against President David Granger.
The elections were due in 2019 but court cases prevent it from taking place within three months.
The Electoral Process
Guyanese elects members of the National Assembly using the Proportional Representation.
The Largest Remainder - Hare Formula is used to select these members along geographical and gender lines.
The political parties are required to submit three separate lists to contest both the general and regional elections.
National Assembly members are drawn from two lists, namely the National Top-Up List and the 10 Geographic Constituency lists.
A total of 40 Parliamentary seats can be drawn from the National Top Up list, and following the elections, the total number of valid votes cast is divided and parties are allocated seats according to who has the greatest number of votes.
Twenty-five can be drawn from the Geographic Constituency lists.
There are also seats reserved strictly for women, who must be on one-third of each party’s national top-up list.
(Photo: Guyana Elections Commission)
A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)
The APNU+AFC coalition comprises of six political parties and is led by President David Granger.
Khemraj Ramjattan is the coalition’s Prime Ministerial candidate and he is replacing Moses Nagamootoo.
The APNU+AFC has several promises in its manifesto including Constitutional Reform, to fully implement the National Resources Fund Act, public sector transparency, cash transfers to help underprivileged citizens, modernize the education system, human rights reforms and for Guyana to generate all its power from renewable sources by 2030.
People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)
The PPP/C is led by Opposition Leader Bharatt Jagdeo but Dr Ifraan Ali is the Presidential candidate.
Jagdeo, who led Guyana from August 11, 1999, to December 3, 2011, was prevented from running again due to term limits.
Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips is Ali’s running mate.
The party has promised to renegotiate gas deals, reverse 200 taxes and fees imposed by the ruling coalition, create 50,000 new jobs during the first five years in office, more scholarships for students and free university within five years.
Change Guyana (CG)
Businessman Robert Badal is leading the CG charge to Parliament and his running mate is lawyer Mishka Puran.
His party is running on promises such as the establishment of a national oil company where Guyanese will be shareholders from birth, investments in public infrastructure, improved health care and the construction of a bridge across the Demerara River.
The Citizenship Initiative (TCI)
Educator Rondha-Ann Lam is leading a team of mostly women into the 2020 Regional and General Election campaign.
The party’s election promises are centred on six pillars: Participatory Citizenship, Enhanced Governance and Public Accountability, Infrastructure for the future, Economic Diversification and Growth, Social Inclusion, Security and Equality, Education and Resource Development and International Leadership.
Some key points of TCI’s manifesto include the decriminalisation of marijuana, an end to the telecommunications monopoly and the establishment of a bicameral legislature.
A New and United Guyana (ANUG)
ANUG has promised immediately review the National Resources Fund, enact a national oil and gas policy, construct a new high-performance sporting facility, improved educational facilities, reduction in land rental fees for rice farmers.
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran was nominated to represent the party.
United Republican Party/ Guyana (URP)
The URP is running on four core pillars: Action with Sympathy and Empathy, Politics with Ethics, Science with Spirituality and Religion With Tolerance.
Some points from the URP manifesto includes: reduced fuel prices, improve safety on Guyana’s roads, increased social benefits,
Vishnu Bandhu is the party’s leader and presidential candidate and Marcia Allison Lewis is his running mate.
Liberty and Justice Party (LJP)
The LJP is led by former Toshao (chief) and pilot Lenox Shuman.
For a short time, he was booted from the elections after it was revealed that he was a dual citizen.
They are proposing an integrated 5G surveillance system for law enforcement, a six-month gun amnesty on illegal firearms, a larger police force and more educational opportunities.
People’s Republic Party (PRP)
The PRP has chosen Phillis Jordan as its presidential candidate for the March 2 polls.
She replaced Dr Valerie Leung who was removed from the race due to her Canadian citizenship.
They have proposed to renegotiate contracts with oil and gas companies, reduce instances of domestic violence and establish programs to help men reach their full potential. The party is also against homosexuality and the gaming industry.
The New Movement (TNM)
Dr Asha Kissoon was selected to be the Presidential candidate of The New Movement.
The party is made of mostly of first-time candidates who are under 30.
TNM has promised to reform Guyana’s constitution to prevent nepotism and corruption, restructure the agriculture sector to ensure employees receive a fair wage and enhance the health sector.
They have formed alliances with several smaller parties including the LJP.
What is at stake?
The winner of this election will be able to shape Guyana’s future for several generations since they will be in control of the country’s new oil wealth.
There have been controversies over what Guyana will receive from its agreement with a consortium of oil companies.
All the opposition parties have promised to cancel oil deals with the consortium.
Polls are scheduled to open at 6 am and end at 6 pm.
Due to the size and remoteness of some polling stations, final results will not be revealed for at least a week.