Now that the elections are done and dusted the Guyana electorate has, for the first time in our history, presented the political ‘bosses’ with a genuine headache. In the past it has always been straightforward. One political party, by one means or another, has been handed control of both the executive and the legislature. That has allowed them to rule pretty much without having to be bothered by what happens on the opposite political side of the fence.
Not this time! The electorate has struck back! This time, whatever the fight-downs, brouhaha and bacchanal that ensue, the people have decided that those whom they elect to rule them must work together. It is like putting quite a few iguanas into one crocus bag, tying the mouth and leaving them to decide whether they will fight or whether they will show the good sense to accept their lot and work out some co-existence arrangement.
The guess is that they will find a way. People are banking not so much on good sense as on the instinct of politicians for survival and for power. OK, the sort of riding roughshod over things that used to be part of the Jagdeo government’s set up can no longer apply. After all, APNU and the AFC can always ambush them in the National Assembly. The PPP/C knows that too and they will not want to be ambushed. What do they do? Go to the polls again in three months? Probably not! That will raise all sorts of issues and those issues will certainly include whether GECOM, based on its performance at the November 28 poll is fit and ready to go again. This time too issues of campaign financing and media and all that will certainly raise far more controversy. And of course you never can tell whether there might be some new pre-elections coalitions designed to settle the outcome, decisively, one way or another. The other thing of course is that the people, who in many cases are always the losers, might even say to the politicians “Go To Hell! No Rerun! Run with it as we gave it to you!” Or as the now departed former President might have said: “Let the chips fall where they will!”
So what we have left is a hung Parliament or some people might even say a Parliament that might hang itself. It is a discomfiting situation for those who are accustomed to having it their way. Perhaps it might never happen again but this time around it is what it is and some good may yet come of it.
Will there be reaching out? Will there be horse-trading? Of course there might be. Politics is about the science of the pragmatic. Opportunism is par for the course. Ask all those who changed sides before the last elections and who might well, even now, be trying to work out how to change sides again. But that would be the least of the troubles of the men in charge. They would be seeking to fortify their positions. In the same way that we heard the patter of feet crossing the floor, so, too, would the hoof-beats resonate as people scurry hither and thither looking to make deals. And the one consolation that we the people can draw from this is that this time around, it seems they have to talk to each other.