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Carter Center Urges Calm As Guyanese Voters Still Await Election Results

Caribbean News, Latin America News:

NEWS AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. March 5, 2020: Voters in the oil rich South American CARICOM nation of Guyana are still waiting an official result from elections held there on Monday, March 2nd even as The Carter Center encouraged all Guyanese to remain patient and peaceful and urged Guyana’s political leaders to commit to reform the “winner-takes-all” election system currently in use.

As of last night, preliminary results showed a lead in votes by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic, (PPP/C).

Nine parties contested the regional and general elections’ but the race was definitely be between the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), led by President David Granger and the PPP/C, led by Irfaan Ali.

“They should make critical issues of constitutional reform an urgent priority  and commit to completing key reforms well before the next general election,” The Carter Center said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, declarations from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), for nine of the 10 regions, showed the PPP/Civic was leading by some 52,000 votes. There were no results from Region Four at press time.

Reports from the Guyana Stabroek News said the Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, terminated proceedings early last night saying that he was tired. On Wednesday, he fell ill and had to be rushed to the Georgetown Hospital.

He was, however, reportedly discharged and returned to work but a new controversy erupted over the verification of Statements of Poll, which was suspended briefly. But when it resumed a clerk used a spreadsheet allegedly giving APNU+AFC extra votes of 100 or more at several polling stations. When the discrepancies were uncovered because the numbers on the spreadsheet did not match the Statements of Poll, the verification process was halted for several hours.

It is now unclear when Region Four might declare and when a final declaration of results from Monday’s election might be possible but so far both parties are claiming victory.

Carter Center observers say they continue to observe the tabulation process, with teams at the Georgetown tabulation center around the clock.

“At this juncture, it is especially important that political parties and observers witness the Guyana Election Commission’s processes of tabulation and finalization of results to ensure transparency. GECOM has made progress in tabulating results, but the process may still take some time to complete,” the Carter Center said in a statement. “Only GECOM has the authority to declare results. In the days to come, the Center urges the key political leaders to act responsibly and in the interest of all Guyana’s people, consistent with the spirit of the code of conduct signed by all parties. It is important that any disputes be addressed through appropriate legal channels.”

However, the preliminary results released for the 9 regions so far by regional returning officers are as follows as of last night at press time:

Preliminary General Elections Results 2020

Region 1

PPP/C – 7,996 votes

APNU/AFC – 3,839 votes

Region 2

PPP/C – 18,788 votes

APNU/AFC – 7,343 votes

Region 3

PPP/C – 47, 855 votes

APNU/AFC – 23, 811 votes

Region 4

APNU/AFC – 0 votes

PPP/C – 0 votes

Region 5

PPP/C – 18,263 votes

APNU/AFC – 14,475 votes

Region 6

PPP/Civic – 43, 220

APNU/AFC – 20, 350

Region 7

APNU/AFC – 4, 836 votes

PPP/Civic – 3,692 votes

Region 8

APNU/AFC – 2,086 votes

PPP/Civic – 2,041 votes

Region 9

PPP/Civic – 7,065 votes

APNU/AFC – 4,826 votes

Region 10

APNU/AFC – 19,153 votes

PPP/Civic – 3,202 votes

The leader of the single party or coalition which emerges with the largest number of seats in the election will become the President of Guyana.

CARTER CENTER

The Carter Center’s 41 observers conducted 220 observations in polling stations across all 10 regions, in addition to observing the advance voting for disciplined forces that took place on Feb. 21.

Carter Center observers reported that voting and counting processes were largely well-organized and peaceful, and assessed the implementation of voting procedures as positive, with only occasional inadequacies. GECOM’s polling staff seemed well-trained on polling procedures and exhibited professionalism throughout the day. Carter Center observers noted that polling staff were less confident in the application of counting procedures.

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