President Donald Ramotar said yesterday that new elections will restore a parliamentary majority to the ruling party but again stopped short of confirming whether a snap election are on the cards.
“I am sure that whenever elections are held, whether it be held tomorrow, whether to be held next week, whether it be next year, whether it be held in 2016, that the PPP will regain its majority… I am confident, very confident about that. I have no doubt in my mind about that,” Ramotar said at a press conference held at Office of the President.
Following the opposition’s plans to move for a no-confidence vote against the government, thereby paving the way for new elections, observers have noted that the ruling PPP/C will likely call a snap elections instead of facing the embarrassment of being voted out of office.
Article 106 (6) of Guyana’s constitution says: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
“This matter [no confidence vote] comes up in October. …As you know, a day or week in politics is sometimes a long time, so I wouldn’t make a decision prematurely,” Ramotar told reporters yesterday.
Since the no-confidence motion has been filed, PPP/C parliamentarian Manzoor Nadir has said on a radio programme that the Constitution makes it clear that for such a motion to be passed every member of the National Assembly must be present, and he hinted that the government could move to the court for judicial review.
Questioned on this, the President said that his party has been discussing “everything” but the issue of a judicial review has not “come up as yet.”
The prospect of a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar administration has been gaining traction in recent weeks and was solidified by the AFC’s formal submission of the motion ahead of the parliamentary recess. Prior to this, the main opposition coalition, APNU signaled its intention to support the motion once it is laid.
Meanwhile, when asked which groups the ruling party may be looking at to form a National Democratic Front alliance, which was announced by General Secretary Clement Rohee earlier this week, the President said: “The issue is constantly under review. We never stop doing these things. We have always have an open door to these matters….”
He also spoke about people paying “lip service” to joint governance and questioned the sincerity of the opposition’s interest in light of the fact that it has been stalling development projects, such as the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Plant.
Ramotar also spoke about the readiness of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) for national elections while noting that there are issues with the preliminary list. He asked if the list is based on the house-to-house registration from 2008, how could people who died before that year be listed as registrants. “These are things are of concern…. I have been hearing from our party workers in the field that they are finding people who died before the house-to-house registration took place and you are finding those people on the list,” he added.
Ramotar also stated that he has not seen a proper explanation for this as yet while raising the issue of former president Arthur Chung still being on the list even though he died in 2008.
However, Gecom’s Deputy Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud has said that the commission is bound by the legal procedures guiding the removal of any name from the Preliminary List of Electors or the National Register or Registrants and that the body is confident about the accuracy of the list.