Rul­ing party re­jects vote re­count in elec­tion chaos

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIO­NAL -


MA­JOR dis­pute erupted Mon­day in Guyana and threat­ened to fur­ther desta­bilise the South Amer­i­can coun­try af­ter the gov­ern­ing party re­jected a re­count of votes cast dur­ing the March 2 gen­eral elec­tions.

The rul­ing mul­ti­party coali­tion that has been in power since 2015 ac­cused the main op­po­si­tion Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party of elec­toral fraud and said it would go to court to pre­vent the elec­tions com­mis­sion from declar­ing a win­ner. The an­nounce­ment was made a day af­ter the com­mis­sion fin­ished re­count­ing about 400,000 votes, in­clud­ing dis­puted votes from about 30 boxes from coastal vil­lages that the rul­ing coali­tion said con­tained only votes for the op­po­si­tion that it wants in­val­i­dated.

The op­po­si­tion party, which is lead­ing by three par­lia­men­tary seats, has re­jected the fraud al­le­ga­tions and said for­mer Hous­ing Min­is­ter Ir­faan Ali should be sworn in while the court re­solves any al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. The Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party led Guyana for 23 years un­til 2015, when it lost to the rul­ing coali­tion led by Pres­i­dent David Granger, who is seek­ing a sec­ond five-year term.

The elec­tion is con­sid­ered the most im­por­tant since Guyana be­came in­de­pen­dent from Bri­tain in 1966, given the re­cent dis­cov­ery of ma­jor oil and gas de­posits near its coast­line. But the im­passe has largely paral­ysed life in the coun­try of some 750,000 peo­ple. The Fi­nance Min­istry warned it’s un­able to ac­cess funds amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic be­cause there is no func­tion­ing Par­lia­ment, which was dis­solved in De­cem­ber.


Peo­ple line up to vote dur­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Ge­orge­town, Guyana, on March 2.

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