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Political impasse threatens elections in Guyana

Monday, May 22, 2006

by Gordon French
Caribbean Net News Guyana Correspondent
Email: gordon@caribbeannetnews.com

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: A cloud of uncertain hangs over the holding of General Elections in Guyana after the Guyana Elections Commission failed to decide on the contentious issue of house-to-house verification of the voters' list to be used at the elections scheduled to be held before September 4 this year.

Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, leads
protest outside GECOM on Friday

A joint opposition group made up of the main opposition PNCR, WPA and ROAR have called for the house-to-house process, threatening to take to the streets if their demands were not met.

The seven-member decision-making arm of the commission met Friday and played it safe by extending the claims and objections period. The joint opposition group had also called for the extension of the claims and objections period.

The ruling party, the People's Progressive Party (PPP), has argued that the claims and objections period allows for verification of names on the voters' list and argued that house-to-house verification was untimely.

Both sides have refused to budge from their stated positions and thus two teams were set-up to hold talks on the way forward. The talks eventually collapsed without any major decisions taken.

On Friday the joint opposition group protested outside GECOM's Kingston Office here in Georgetown where the commissioners were meeting.

Leader of the PNCR, Robert Corbin told reporters that the meeting represented a "watershed" since time was running on the issue of house-to-house verification.

The party reported last week that an attempt to have the donor community intervene with a view of settling the current impasse but they refused, citing that Guyana was a sovereign nation and as such the people of Guyana must decide on elections issues.

The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the European Union along with the Government and GECOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to ensure free and fair elections in the CARICOM country.

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