– 34 individual candidates throw hats in the ring
A total of 62 symbols were submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by political parties, voluntary groups and individuals seeking to contest the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE).
GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward, on Tuesday, told the Guyana Chronicle that of the lot, seven of the symbols came from political parties while 21 symbols were submitted by voluntary groups and 34 from individual candidates.
According to Ward, the commission is processing the symbols to ensure that they conform to the established guidelines. The secretariat has been in contact with potential candidates be it individuals, groups or parties, whose symbols or applications may require adjusting.
Once the symbols are completed, processed and approved, Ward committed GECOM to releasing the names of the political parties, voluntary groups and individuals whose symbols were pre-approved ahead of Nomination Day – September 21, 2018.
While the Guyana Chronicle is uncertain of the names of all seven political parties that submitted symbols, it is clear that the three major political parties – the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the Alliance for Change (AFC) and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) have submitted their symbols for prequalification.
Youth for Local Government Elections, a civil group, also submitted a symbol having signaled its interest to contest the Local Government Elections for a second time.
Any list of candidates submitted by any political party, voluntary group or individual candidate on Nomination Day without the pre-approved symbol will be deemed defective and the defaulting political party, voluntary group or individual candidate will be deemed ineligible to contest the elections.
GECOM has long explained that political parties or groups must contest all seats for the Proportional Representation component and must submit a list of candidates with 10 additional names, apart from the total number of councillors for the municipality or Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
In addition, only the names of candidates qualified to be councillors equal to the number of constituency seats which it intends to contest in the LGEs must be submitted, while the name of an independent candidate can only be submitted for the seat he or she is contesting. GECOM outlined, too, that each list of candidates must be submitted on the prescribed form indicating name, address, ID number and occupation of each candidate and the names of candidates should be one below the other with surnames in alphabetical order.
The signature mark of each nominator must be stated together with the name and the ID card number and each list of candidates must be accompanied by a declaration on the prescribed form, from each candidate contesting the election.
Local Government Elections (LGE) will be held on Monday, November 12. At the March 2016 LGE, approximately 507,633 persons were registered to vote for representatives of three political parties, 17 voluntary groups and 63 individual candidates in a mixed system of Proportional Representation and First Past the Post.