By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Carter Centre Observer team has congratulated the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the election process and urges patience as results are finalized.
At a news conference at the Guyana Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, May 12, the Observer team made it known that while the electorate turned out in large numbers to vote, it was done in an “atmosphere of tension and anxiety that, unfortunately, was generated by key political leaders who played on fears during the electoral process.”
According to the observer team, rumors and allegations of provocative confrontations between ruling and opposition supporters swirled throughout election day but on closer inspection by international observers, most issues, with only a few exceptions, turned out to be largely unfounded or easily explained.
One of the observers, Jason Calder told reporters that the united opposition and the young electorate can definitely “shake things up” as it relates to the outcome of the elections.
On Election Day, Carter Center observers visited 297 polling stations in all 10 regions, or about 13 percent of total stations, providing a relatively high degree of observation coverage.
It was noted that Carter Center observers witnessed opening, polling, closing, and counting procedures in all areas. In addition, Carter Center teams are currently in 9 of the 10 regions to observe the work of GECOM returning officers. Overall, Carter Center observers reported:
- A generally calm and peaceful atmosphere throughout election day. The implementation of procedures was rated positively at all stations observed during the polling period, and no major irregularities were reported.
- A strong presence of political party agents at polling stations visited, with APNU/AFC agents at more than 91 percent of stations visited and PPP/C agents at more than 90 percent of stations visited.
- A positive environment in almost all polling stations. Carter Center observers reported a positive overall assessment of the electoral process and environment at 98 percent of stations visited.
- During the counting process, statements of poll were completed according to procedures in polling stations visited, and party agents and domestic observers were invited to sign and received copies of the results.
- Tension along party lines was observed in a few areas, which may have contributed to the delay in transferring electoral materials and processing results. GECOM and the police coordinated a response to these issues that improved the transfer of materials.
As GECOM officials continue to conduct the tabulation and results process, the Carter Center strongly urges political parties and their leaders to act responsibly and call for patience among their supporters and allow the process to proceed to its conclusion, reflecting the dignity that their constituents displayed on election day.
Following the elections, the Carter Center plans to remain engaged in the weeks ahead.