By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – As May 11, – the date for General and Regional Elections approaches, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is taking proactive steps to engage with Guyana’s political parties interested in contesting the elections prior to nomination day.
GECOM, via a public notice, says it plans to meet with all the parties on Wednesday March 11, to ensure that all the necessities in preparation for nomination day are ironed out.
“Each Political Party that would be contesting the elections is invited to send two representatives who would be directly involved with the preparation and submission of its list(s) of candidates to the meeting,” GECOM said in an advertisement placed in the local dailies.
During an interview with iNews on Thursday, March 05, GECOM’s Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally said that the meeting is being done with specific focus on the small parties that have recently signalled their intention to contest the elections.
Over the past weeks two parties signalled that they would be interested in taking part in the upcoming election. This includes the Independent Party led by Social Activist Mark Benschop and The Healing The Nation Theocracy Party led by Ras Leon Saul.
“We are meeting with political parties…those that are purporting to be Parties come nomination day. We are not waiting for nomination day to come for them to say, ‘I will be a Party’ and many of them who put up their names will not contest,” expounded the GECOM Chairman.
He further pointed out that at the last General Election, a number of political parties had surfaced but on nomination day only four parties met all the legal requirements to contest the elections.
Guyana’s constitution mandates that each contesting political party must submit each of the Lists of Candidates on Nomination Day, one National Top-Up List, at least six Geographical Constituencies’ Lists and the Regional DemocraticCouncils’ Lists that the given Party may seek to contest.
The various Lists of Candidates must comprise registered voters who are eligible to be elected asmembers of the National Assembly.The various Lists of Candidates must be accompanied by Statutory Declarations by each person named therein as candidates, indicating their consent to be nominated before a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of Oaths, notary public or other person authorized by law to administer an oath in theplace where the declaration is made.
It also stipulates that a person may be a signatory to a List of Candidates, notwithstanding that he/she is named therein as acandidate.Candidates’ names may be duplicated only in that contesting party’s Geographical Constituency Listsand on its National Top-Up Lists; however it must be noted that a Candidate’s name must appear ononly one Geographical Constituency’s List.
In addition to the above, it must be noted that a candidate’s name can only appear in one Party’s set of Lists.
Further, on submission of the Lists of Candidates, a Representative and Deputy Representative for each List, both of whom must be candidates, must be named.