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OAS Calls On GECOM To Declare Election Results, And For Guyana Government To “Prepare For Transition”

OAS Calls On GECOM To Declare Election Results, And For Guyana Government To “Prepare For Transition”

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia June 15, 2020 (CMC) – The Organization of American States (OAS) called on the Guyana coalition government, today, “to begin the process of transition, which will allow the legitimately-elected government to take its place”, as the country awaits the official declaration of the over-3-month-overdue election results.

In a statement, the OAS, which was among international and regional organisations that sent observers to monitor the polls, stated “elections are held to determine the will of the people, and once the people’s wishes are clearly stated, they must be upheld, not only in instances where they favour the incumbent”.

“In this case, the results, published in the report of the Chief Elections Officer, himself make it clear that the opposition PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party/Civic) has won the favour of the majority of Guyana’s eligible voters. Their will must be respected,” the OAS asserted.

In his report over, the last weekend, the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfiel, opined that the results did not meet “the standard of fair and credible elections”.

He alleged, approximately 55 percent of all votes cast for general elections stand to be impacted, due to “either anomalies and/or voter impersonation or unreconciled ballot boxes.

“Specifically, 7.2 percent of the votes cast were impacted by anomalies; 39.2 percent were impacted by voter impersonation; 3.4 percent impacted by both anomalies/irregularities and voter impersonation; and 5.7 percent impacted by unreconciled ballot boxes,” wrote Lowenfield, whose report, like that of the three-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Observer team that observed the recount, will be discussed by GECOM, before an official announcement of the election results are given, tomorrow.

In its statement, the OAS said that the decision by GECOM to proceed with the national recount and the eventual initiation of the process on May 6, were welcome developments in the ongoing electoral process in Guyana.

“Following the very irregular occurrences in the tabulation process for District Four, which undermined the credibility of the results for that electoral District – the largest in Guyana – a national recount of all ballots was deemed the best approach to ensure a result that was acceptable to all stakeholders.”

The OAS said that it has noted that the decision to proceed with the recount had the full support of all stakeholders in the elections and that the Official Order of the Recount, No. 60/2020, gazetted on May 4, 2020, notably states “the President and the Leader of the Opposition and all contesting parties agreed to a CARICOM proposal for a total recount of all electoral districts, as a means of assuaging the contesting parties and determining a final credible count…”

“This support was reiterated in public statements, by the President of Guyana and other key stakeholders, as the recount proceeded.”

The OAS said that the Order of the Recount required that “ascertained and verified” matrices of the results for each of the 10 electoral districts be submitted to the Chief Elections Officer, who would then tabulate these results and submit them to GECOM, along with a summary of the observation reports, prepared for each District.

The OAS noted that the report, “submitted by the Chief Elections Officer, on June 13, records multiple ‘allegations’ of irregularities by a contesting party in each District, which are then used as a basis for determining that the electoral process in each of the ten Districts was not credible”.

But it argued, “there is little evidence in the CEO’s report of efforts to investigate or otherwise address any of the alleged irregularities presented. His contention that the entire election be set aside, on this basis alone, is astonishing”.

The OAS recalled that, on June 4, it issued a statement, in which its observers, present on each day of the national recount, have reported that the process was conducted in a “professional, transparent and impartial fashion, which allowed GECOM, political parties and other stakeholders to accurately determine the results for each polling station”.

“OAS reiterates that there is no reason not to support the results of the recount process. OAS further takes note, and wholly supports, the findings of the CARICOM team of scrutineers, that the results of the recount were transparent and credible, and nothing prevents the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission from now declaring the election, based on these results,” it added.

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