GECOM writes political parties on selecting MPs

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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has written to political parties on their requirement to soon submit their lists of potential parliamentarians.

The Office of the Chief Elections Officer at GECOM, Keith Lowenfield on Monday issued letters to political parties, requesting their lists of parliamentary representatives; thus, initiating the process of appointing a new batch of Members of Parliament.

According to the final elections report, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) will hold a majority in the National Assembly with 33 seats, the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition will have 31 seats, while the joinder parties –A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), and The New Movement (TNM) – gained one seat.

In a letter seen by INews, the parties are expected to extract names of individuals from their respective lists and submit that information to the CEO, who will then prepare certificates to be dispatched to the potential Members of 12th Parliament of Guyana.

In the case of the joinder parties, it is expected that each party will have a representative sit in the parliament for 1/3 of period, with the first representative resigning and handing over the reins to the next nominated person at the end of their tenure.

The issue of dual citizenship is expected to be of key interest in the selection of the new batch of parliamentarians.

Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Guyana states that: “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State.”

This simply means that persons who hold dual citizenship cannot legally occupy seats in the National Assembly.

However, there really is no stringent mechanism in place to ensure persons who become parliamentarians are truly not dual citizens.

In fact, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward had explained earlier this year that the onus is on the politicians to ensure that they are honest on the statutory declaration form which they sign to indicate that they are Guyanese and do not have dual citizenship.