11 parties cleared to contest polls

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The lone Saphier Husain hands in his party’s list on Nomination Day

…only nine approved for general elections

THE number of parties contesting the March 2020 elections has been narrowed even further as only nine parties will be contesting the General Elections and 11, the Regional Elections.

The numbers were shaved down further on Tuesday when the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) confirmed that at least two small parties were disapproved after failing to meet the necessary requirements to contest the elections.

These two parties are the Guyana National Service (GNS) and the National Independent Party (NIP) headed by Saphier Husain. Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, will inform the parties – which were given a period for correction – of their non-approval.
“Those letters will be sent off, I believe today (Tuesday), by the CEO to those persons to inform them,” Commissioner Sase Gunraj said, coming out of the commission’s statutory meeting on Tuesday.

“Even prior to today, I understand, it was reported to us that they were informed of their defects and given opportunity to remedy them. Of course those parties will be placed on various places on the ballot dependent on the lists that they submitted.”

GNS representative, Oral Semple, hands in his party’s lists on his own

GNS representative, Oral Semple, had told the newspaper ahead of Nomination Day that his party was “already set for Nomination Day” and would be contesting all 10 regions.
Meanwhile, Hussain, who held both a Guyana and American flag on Nomination Day, had proposed that Guyana become a State of the United States of America. He belted out his plan to surprised reporters, even as he referred to Guyana as “primitive society”.

The Elections Commission had initially stated that 19 parties had signalled their interest in contesting the 2020 General and Regional Elections by submitting their symbols for approval. By the end of Nomination Day on January 10, only 13 made the cut – 11 of which were either small or new parties. For the elections, the lists to be presented are categorised as General Elections Lists and Regional Lists. The General Elections List is made up of the National Top-Up List, which must have at least 300 to 330 nominators countrywide, and at least 42 candidates, who are to be elected to sit in the National Assembly.

The General Elections List is also made up of the Geographical Constituency List, which must see at least 150 to 175 nominators from each of the 10 Constituencies (Regions). The list should also include no more than 45 candidates. When it comes to the Regional Elections List, only the Regional Democratic Council List is being presented. This list must have 150-175 nominators, who must be residing in the region for which they placed their names, and it must have 12 to 36 candidates who also reside in the region.

On January 12, the CEO had notified representatives and deputy representatives of several small parties that their lists were defective, meaning that it had some degree of error. The parties had a period in which to submit a corrected list, through its representatives. Those who are now excluded would have failed to meet the necessary requirements even with a second chance. The final action with regard to the lists will see GECOM gazetting approved lists on January 16, 2020.