No date fixed by President to dissolve Parliament

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– necessary mechanisms have to be in place for fair, credible elections – Harmon

Despite having set March 2, 2020 as Election Day, President David Granger is yet to have his Cabinet resign and dissolve the 11th Parliament.

Director-General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, says that although the APNU/AFC caretaker government is aware that the Parliament needs to be dissolved in keeping with the country’s Constitution for the hosting of the upcoming elections, the President has not yet signalled when he plans to issue a proclamation in this regard.

“I cannot say to you now that there has been a firm decision on the dissolution, the date when that is to take place, that certainly will be occasioned by several factors which still have to be considered. Whether, in fact, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has all that is required, whether, in fact, any specific work has to be done within the National Assembly”.

Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

He stated that although March 2, 2020 has been announced as the date of the election in Guyana, his government will not proceed with the dissolution of the Parliament unless it is certain that all necessary mechanisms are put in place to host free, fair and credible elections.

“So if it means that the Parliament has to be dissolved by a certain time, there is no more work for it, I am sure that his Excellency, the President, will only be too happy to make that decision. But as right now, as we stand right now, I cannot say to you that a specific date has been set for that to take place”.

Just last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) will resume protest actions if President David Granger does not dissolve Parliament come next month.

PPP/C supporters in a previous protest outside of the Ministry of the Presidency. [File Photo]
Having already set March 2, 2020 as the date for the much-anticipated General and Regional Elections and issuing the election proclamation, pressure has been mounting on the caretaker President to also dissolve the 11th Parliament.

But according to Article 61 of the Constitution, “An election of members of the National Assembly under Article 60 (2) shall be held on such day within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President shall appoint by proclamation”.

“When the time comes, he will have to dissolve. I’m just making sure that he understands one thing that December 2 is the day… He has to dissolve Parliament; he has to issue a proclamation. Let him delay that and we’ll resume protest because that’s part of the holding of elections – the dissolution of Parliament,” Jagdeo had noted at his weekly press conference last week.

The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition has been acting as a caretaker government for nearly one year since the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against it.