PPP ups pressure on GECOM to hold elections; threatens Court action

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File: Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo speaking with the media

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has revealed that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) intends to protest the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) if it further delays preparations for the General and Regional Elections which are due by March 2019 following the successful passage of the no-confidence motion which saw the toppling of the APNU/AFC Government on December 21.

According to Jagdeo, the Opposition is also exploring its legal options if the need arises to take GECOM to Court for its failure to carry out its constitutional mandate.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing today (Thursday), the party leader noted that elections are to be held in March and GECOM must be ready for these elections. He added that  no delays will be tolerated.

“We believe that the elections could be ready in the time-frame that is on March 21. We have seen this whole issue of the house-to-house registration which will take 6 months to a year as a red herring… so we intend to protest GECOM and Government if they delay and we are exploring now where we can go to the Court to get GECOM to carry out their constitutional duties…this is how we will address these matters,” Jagdeo said.

Further, the General Secretary stated that the constitution is clear and has to be respected as the supreme law.

Acting Chief Justice, Roxane Geroge, SC, on Thursday, ruled that the no-confidence motion filed by the Opposition was validly passed on December 21 and as such, the Cabinet should have resigned and call elections within the 90 days.

According to the acting CJ, the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland found that the motion was carried by a majority of 33-32. She said that the validity of motion was not doubted when it was carried on December 21.

In her ruling, the CJ said that in Guyana’s 65-member National Assembly, a majority is 33. As such, the no confidence motion was validly carried.

She outlined that the President and the Ministers cannot therefore remain in Government in accordance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) respectively.

Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”

Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George, SC

Meanwhile, 106 (7) goes on to state that, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”

 

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