Guyanese from all walks of life and political affiliation today cast their ballots in the Local Government polls, that was just closed. They voted in some 71 Local Authority areas including 62 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils across Guyana.
While it is still early to ascertain the exact number of citizens who voted in today’s elections, reports are that the voter turnout was ‘disappointing’ and ‘poor’.
These numbers and statistics are expected to be provided later tonight or tomorrow when the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is expected to start providing results of the polls.
The much-anticipated Local Government polls opened this morning after a 19-year-absence but the expected hype was marred by a disappointingly low turnout by eligible voters, and could have been the main contributing factor to an extremely peaceful and smooth process at most of the polling stations.
This low-turnout, up to noon, was despite fervent ‘last-minute’ calls yesterday by the governing APNU/AFC and Opposition PPP/C for eligible Guyanese in general and party supporters in particular to go out today and vote.
“I want you to go out and vote, exercise your franchise, this is your day, you worked for this, you longed for this, you dreamt for this, local government elections is here to stay. This is called people’s power so vote wisely, vote for people you trust in office,” Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo appealed.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo also appealed to eligible voters to ensure they go out and vote today.
“(Today’s) vote is an important one because the future of our communities is at stake and it is a chance for our people to support and participate in community-based democracy, and to elect the leaders who will work for their communities. I urge all Guyanese to turn out to the polls and cast their vote. I am also urging employers to allow their employees the time off to be able to cast their votes. Our vote is a robust tool, which must be used to ensure the people receive the leadership they want,” Dr Jagdeo appealed.
This afternoon, prior to the close of polls, Dr Jagdeo was seen chatting with voters on the East Coast of Demerara, as can be seen from the following photos: