The split between APNU and the AFC is deep

Dear Editor,

The schism between the APNU and the AFC is much deeper than is currently manifest. What is playing out at the City Hall and more recently with the fiasco over a centenary stamp in honour of the late Dr Cheddi Jagan are merely symptomatic of a deeper conflict between the two coalition partners.

It is clear that the PNCR is now seeking to reposition itself as the dominant player in preparation for the upcoming local and general elections. Now that it is in the seat of power, it is in a much better position to flex its political muscle and by so doing re-assert its hegemony over the other parties in the alliance, some with nebulous popular support.

The AFC, thanks to the Cummingsburg Accord, is over-represented in the Cabinet and other statutory bodies. This fact has not been lost on the leadership, and for that matter the membership, of the PNC many of whom felt sidelined by the apparent political generosity of the Granger-led PNC. The AFC, in their view, has been punching, as it were, way beyond its political weight and something needed to be done to bring that party into line.

A not dissimilar situation is playing out with the WPA and the other parties in the coalition which are not bound by the terms of the Accord but which are increasingly being alienated by the hegemonic behaviour of the PNC.

The AFC and the other smaller parties are faced with a serious dilemma. Should they take a decision to contest the upcoming elections independently, they run the risk of being exposed electorally in terms of popular support and in the process lose whatever trappings of office they may be currently enjoying should the PNC be returned to office. The PNC, for its part and for optical purposes, would prefer to go to the elections under the façade of a united front, but certainly not under the terms and conditions of the existing Cummingsburg Accord.

One possible way out of the current predicament is for a new constitutional formula, hopefully to be put in place before the 2020 elections which would allow for post-elections coalitions in the event no party has a majority of the votes. In such a scenario, the distribution of ministerial positions to the governing coalition constituents could be correlated on the basis of the actual seats obtained, and not on the presumed strength of any of the constituent members as is currently the case.

Yours faithfully,

Hydar Ally

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