- as Party moves into national campaign mode for 2020
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) could name its next presidential candidate in the coming weeks, as General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo has made a commitment to making the announcement by the end of this year.
Jagdeo said that his party would stick with the promise to name the next candidate who will take the Party through the 2020 General Elections. He recalled that earlier this year Party executives had agreed to name the candidate after the Local Government Elections (LGE).
“… we will return to the issue on that timeline on when we settle for the presidential candidate. But it seems as though all of this will happen within the year, before the end of 2018,” he said.
Jagdeo said he would throw his support behind anyone he found to have the ability to lead the Party to victory at the 2020 elections. “There are a lot of people that I like, and very competent people, and I wish them all well,” he stated.
The Party’s General Secretary said he had no problem with members within the Executive of the party who were desirous of becoming the presidential nominee canvasing support.
“There is nothing wrong with people saying, I am interested. What’s wrong with that? But I urge all of the Party members and those who are canvasing not to disparage anyone else. Because at the end of the day, what will happen is not all of these people will rally around the person we chose and we move on to win the election,” he said.
Various concerns have been raised about the process, which will be used to select the next presidential candidate for the PPP/C, but Jagdeo, has made it clear that the system used since 1992 would remain the chosen one.
“There is a longstanding tradition: The Congress selects the Central Committee and the Central Committee choses the candidate,” Jagdeo said at the news conference.
He said this system, which was introduced by the Party some 25 years ago under the leadership of the late Dr Cheddi Jagan, still obtained today.
“So I doubt that is going to change for these elections, because that is the position. I tell you this because it seems as though many people, in speculating about how the candidate would be chosen, are not aware of this process,” he explained.
He maintained that the Party remained committed to the highest levels of transparency, accountability, and democracy as it undertook the process of selecting its next presidential nominee. “That’s the process we have used, and from all indications, that is the process we will use again to select the next candidate, unless the Central Committee itself decides to change that procedure,” he added.
Jagdeo said the race for the candidacy was open, as this has been a longstanding practice of the PPP/C. “But at the end of the day, it is how many votes you muster there from the 35 (Central Committee members) that will matter in a democratic fashion. That person will emerge as the candidate.”
There are several persons who are reportedly interested in being the Party’s top candidate. So far, junior member and former Member of Parliament, Charles Ramson Jr has publicly announced his candidacy for the position.
Also, a number of former Government Ministers under the PPP/C, including Anil Nandlall, Irfaan Ali and Dr Frank Anthony, have been expressing an interest to lead the PPP/C into the next elections.
It is also believed that some women candidates may join in the race to be nominated. These include party stalwart Gail Teixeira and MP Dr Vindhya Persaud.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo said that the PPP/C was moving “straight into its national campaign” for the 2020 General and Regional Elections following a massive victory at the LGE.
“We will continue to work hard … we will keep going back to certain areas, including areas that are seen as the strongholds of the People’s National Congress (PNC) … we will keep going back to people across Guyana over and over… we have to go back to them,” he said.
“…some said they didn’t want to give us the vote, but they didn’t give A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) … we have to go back to get them not to stay away the next time, not to give anyone the vote … we want them to vote for our party.”
The General Election is constitutionally due in the next 18 months.