President David Granger on Wednesday announced that general and regional council elections could be held as early as March 2020, but his administration will be seeking an extension of the life of his administration when Parliament reconvenes on October 10, 2019.
“I am pleased to announce that, after discussions with Chairman of the Elections Commission and with my Cabinet, the earliest possible date for the holding of General and Regional Elections will be on Monday, 2nd March 2020.
The Constitution at Article 106 (7) states, “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”.
The extension of a period beyond three months for the holding of an election is related to the Elections Commission’s readiness to hold the elections. The Government of Guyana must, as a consequence, return to the National Assembly to request an extension. The National Assembly reconvenes on 10th October 2019,” he said in five-minute address to the Nation.
The President did not announce the dissolution of Parliament and name a definitive date for Guyanese to cast ballots to elect a government of their choice.
The opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), in an immediate reactuon, slammed Mr. Granger for attempting to legitimize his administration. Noting that the President gave no definitive date for elections, the PPP said only a signed proclamation declaring a definitive date for the polls would be credible.
The PPP says a return to the National Assembly is wholly unnecessary for him to discharge his constitutional duty to proclaim a date for Elections and dissolve Parliament. That party also says it is not linked to a requirement for GECOM to be ready for Elections.