Jagdeo says PPP will name candidate shortly

-gov’t to foot bill for polls

The PPP will name its presidential candidate shortly, President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday, even as he declined to say whether he was supporting any candidate in particular.

Asked by this newspaper during a press briefing whether PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar was his preferred choice to be presidential candidate or if not who, a smiling Jagdeo did not respond directly to the question.  “We’re going to name our person soon. The person who will lead us to win the next elections,” he said. “So…once that is done, you will hear about it,” he added. Questioned what “soon” meant, the President said, “soon could be tomorrow. It could be six months from now. I don’t’ know.”

Ramator, who has publicly indicated an interest in the position, has accompanied Jagdeo on several of his overseas trips and even participated in recent Cabinet outreaches by the government despite not being a member of Cabinet.

Aside from Ramotar, in recent months, Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and MP Moses Nagamootoo all already indicated their willingness to head the PPP slate next year.  Jagdeo is ineligible to seek re-election because of a constitutional term-limit.

Ramotar recently told Stabroek News that the process to identify the candidate is still in the preliminary stages. He said too that while there is no timeline for the completion of the process, it is his personal belief that the person would be identified by the end of the year. He explained that the selection of the candidate would be a process that is in line with how the party makes all other important decisions, including its last two presidential candidates.

The party’s Executive Committee is expected to recommend a candidate, either by consensus or a vote, to the Central Committee, which would have the final say. On previous occasions, the Central Committee has adopted the recommendation of the Executive Committee.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo also repeated a commitment to have national elections next year and said that the government will be footing the expenses. “Elections have to be next year and we have to foot the cost of those elections. We don’t have a choice….If I say otherwise soon you will be hearing a speculation in one of the papers that Jagdeo doesn’t want elections. Let me make it clear. I want elections next year, on time and we would foot the cost,” he was adamant.

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