APPROXIMATELY three months after he proclaimed that General and Regional Elections will be held on March 2, 2020, President David Granger has issued the proclamations for the dissolution of Parliament.
In the proclamations, the Head of State ordered that Parliament and the 10 Regional Democratic Councils be dissolved on December 30, 2019, thereby paving the way for General and Regional Elections.
The Proclamations were issued on Friday.
In a statement, the Public Information and Press Services Unit pointed out that Article 70 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana states that the President, may at any time, by proclamation, dissolve Parliament.
According to Article 61 of the Constitution, election of members of the National Assembly under Article 60 (2) shall be held on such day within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President shall appoint by Proclamation.
The proclamation for the dissolution of Parliament states, “In exercise of the powers conferred upon me by the aforesaid articles, I do hereby dissolve the Eleventh Parliament of Guyana on the Thirtieth day of December, Two Thousand and Nineteen and appoint the Second day of March, Two Thousand and Twenty, as the day on which the election of members of the National Assembly shall be held, the issue and publication of any other proclamation pursuant to the Constitution in this regard notwithstanding.”
The proclamations were issued following a meeting with the Head of State and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Early elections in Guyana were triggered when, on December 21, 2018, the Parliamentary Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – secured a one-seat majority in the House to defeat the government on a Motion of No-Confidence. Now recalled Member of Parliament, Charrandass Persaud, had used his vote in the House to support the motion, thereby giving the opposition an edge over the government in the 65-Member National Assembly.
The no-confidence motion was upheld by the High Court on January 31, 2019 but on March 22, 2019, the Court of Appeal, by a two-one majority, invalidated the motion on the basis that an absolute majority was not acquired although the opposition had secured an extra vote to defeat the government. It was not until June 18, 2019 that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – Guyana’s final appellate court – validated the no-confidence motion. In handing down its consequential order on July 12, 2019, the CCJ stated clearly that the government, as a result of the passage of the no-confidence motion, will remain in office, though on a different footing, until a new President is sworn-in.
GECOM, faced with its own challenges, in September, 2019, informed President Granger, for the very first time since the motion, that it would be in a position to conduct credible elections by the end of February, 2020.