Dim political fortunes await Guyana

The meetings last week between the President and the Leader of the Opposition and the President and the Guyana Elections Commission did not yield a solution to the impending constitutional crisis that has been dominating the news in recent weeks. Maybe the President and his Attorney General do not believe that a constitutional crisis faces Guyana on March 22nd. Both have said that according to Article 106 of the Constitution, the President holds office until the next President is sworn in. They have purposefully ignored that a no-confidence motion was passed in the National Assembly on December 21st and that the new president must be elected in three months, unless that time is extended by a two-third majority.

But this issue has now gone beyond what the constitution says and means. The President’s failure to fix a date for elections is because APNU+AFC intends to remain in office for as long as possible. This is aided by the majority on the Guyana Elections Commission who have voted, and will no doubt continue to support, a new registration exercise. A nation-wide house-to-house registration exercise will last into next year. If APNU+AFC’s effort to hold political power succeeds, it will hold elections between May and August next year, when its term of office would have otherwise lawfully ended. Having been caught flat-footed by the no-confidence vote, it lost time, which it now seeks to unconstitutionally regain, to put systems in place to win the elections. This clearly is a matter of political life and death and explains the tenacity of its efforts…..