Now that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has elected former Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali as its presidential candidate, all eyes will now be turned on who will be chosen as the prime ministerial candidate.
According to PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, the next step is for the Party’s Executive Committee (Ex-Co) to start the process.
“The Executive Committee will decide how soon we’ll get to that. We’ve already asked activists from across the country to start submitting names for the regional list, the top-up list and the geographic list. Because we need to be ready for nomination day, which we believe will be the second week in February,” Jagdeo said.
“Because as you know, we are sticking with a March 19 deadline … that’s it. So, we not only have to initiate the process, which we have done for candidates. And there are thousands of those. But we also have to swiftly address the issue of the prime ministerial candidate.”
Jagdeo noted that the Central Committee does have the power to change the methodology used to select the prime ministerial candidate. According to the General Secretary, however, no one has indicated that the model of selecting the prime ministerial candidate from the Civic side of the Party needs changing.
“So, the prime ministerial candidate will come from the Civic. We still want that,” Jagdeo said. “But we have been broadening the Civic. There are thousands of people who want to come in. Some don’t want to be part of a formal Civic. Some want policy promises.
“You will see the quality of the people who are coming to us and how diverse it is and who will be prominently featured on our campaign platform. So, we have a really good set of people from which we can choose a good prime ministerial candidate.”
Already, possible candidates have been making their rounds in sections of the media. Such names include former Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and former Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill.
When contacted, Edghill would only admit that he has been contacted by various persons and told of his suitability to be the candidate. According to Edghill, he remained committed to the Party and was available to serve if called upon.
Saturday’s presidential candidate election was conducted by way of secret ballot, after a week of speculation in the media and presentations to Party officials from the contenders. Immediately prior to the election, three candidates withdrew from the contest, leaving former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Ali as the two contestants.
While Ali will represent the PPP as the presidential candidate, media reports on party affairs in A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) suggest that incumbent President David Granger will run for re-election.