[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Carter Centre believes that while Guyana’s political scene is undergoing a transformation, the current systems in place with respect to electioneering and governance still promote some amount of division rather than inclusion.
The centre is currently in its 100th electoral observer mission in Guyana and made the revelations about Guyana’s political climate in a recent report published on its website.
The Carter Center has been invited to observe the May 11 elections — which both the ruling Party and the opposition coalition believe they will win, because of its long history in the country.
“The two large, ethnically-based parties have long dominated politics in Guyana….while the population and political scene are changing, the country’s electoral and governance systems foster polarization rather than inclusion,” explained David Carroll, Director of the Carter Center’s Democracy Program.
The Director also raised the issue that while constitutional reform is required in Guyana, there is a question of whether such reforms will be pursued by whichever Political Party wins the upcoming elections on May 11.
“While most political leaders acknowledge the need for constitutional reform, progress has been lacking. The key question is whether serious reforms will proceed after the elections,” said Carroll.
It was also pointed out that for many years; politics in this small South American country have fractured along ethnic lines. The People’s National Congress, supported mostly by Afro-Guyanese whose ancestors were brought to the country as slaves, held sway during much of the 1970s and ’80s. The People’s Political Party, whose core supporters are Indo-Guyanese descended from South Asian indentured servants who arrived in the country more than 100 years ago, has been in power since 1992.
“This election is likely to be very competitive,” said Carroll. “Depending on the quality of the electoral process, there might be reluctance to accept the results. It will be an important test for Guyana and its people,” the Director noted.
He also pointed out that there is a strong sense that this could be a closely contested election.
“The Carter Center knows Guyana quite well, and the Guyanese are very familiar with the Center’s work. We have observed three different elections in Guyana — in 1992, 2001, and 2006 — and we have a deep familiarity with the country’s politics and challenges,” he explained.