General Secretary (GS)of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has outlined that a Presidential candidate for the party could be selected by year end.
According to Jagdeo, the executives of the PPP are split on the timeframe in which this process should be completed, as some are proposing that it could be done before the Local Government Elections (LGE) which are scheduled for November this year, while others are proposing a date after LGE.
“So, between those two, we will return to the issue on that timeline on when we settle for the presidential candidate. But it seems are though all of this will happen within the year, before the end of 2018,” Jagdeo told this media group on Wednesday, when asked for an update on the matter.
Again, asked whether he would throw his support behind anyone whom he finds has the ability to lead the party to victory at the 2020 elections, the PPP General Secretary said, “There are a lot of people that I like, and very competent people, and I wish them all well.”
Jagdeo was also asked if members within the executive of the party who are desirous of becoming the presidential nominee, are allowed to canvas support from various sections. He responded stating that he does not see it as a major issue but the way in which it is done is a concern for him.
“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, but Jagdeo, has made it clear that the system used since 1992 will remain the chosen one. “There is a longstanding tradition: The congress selects the central committee and the central committee chooses the candidate,” Jagdeo had a told a previous 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 obtains 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 remains committed to the highest levels of transparency, accountability and democracy as it undertakes 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 chances of people entering the race for the candidacy are possible, as this has been a longstanding practice of the PPP. “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.”
While the PPP General Secretary has explained that anyone from the party would be allowed to compete for the candidacy, he reiterated that the prospective contender would first have to be nominated.