Guyana’s main opposition party this week threw cold water on the results of the November 28th general elections saying irregularities were so profound that it has genuine doubts that the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had won the largest bloc of votes and the presidency to run the Caribbean Community’s largest member state for a fifth consecutive five-year term.
Unveiling a power point presentation the end of an exhaustive 13-week audit of polling station statements and other material, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) said balloting box-stuffing and other forms of cheating were evident in the capital and environs and in the key region three district on the west coast where the PPP dominated all other parties despite huge APNU rallies in the days leading up to the elections in those districts.
The APNU is led by retired army commander Brig. Gen. David. A. Granger, 66 and comprises at least nine other parties in a collation formed early last year to contest the elections on a single united slate. Granger is now functioning as opposition leader in the assembly.
APNU accused GECOM, the elections commission, of colluding with the PPP to set up polling stations at private residences of Indian PPP supporters, suggesting that at those stations, the PPP won up to 75 percent of the vote compared to its national average of 49 at most other places. The final count had showed that the PPP had won just over 48 percent of the overall vote.
“We believe that fundamental breaches of the stated policies and procedures of Gecom occurred, along with misconduct and illegal actions by Gecom representatives in the managing of the elections held on November 28, 2011 do not provide a reliable basis to determine who won the presidency,” the party said. “Gecom was unable to produce a list of polling stations that were changed or consolidated in the five days prior to elections,” the group said, reiterating that last-minute stations were used to pad votes for the PPP and rob other parties.
It did not say whether it will go to court to challenge the results by way of elections petition but says its audit now explains the sudden shift in trends that were showing the APNU with a clear lead during counting two days after the elections. Petitions are the only way to overturn the results of an election but the sloth of the local judiciary could mean that the case could drag on for up to five years, rendering any verdict meaningless.
The party said that it had found dozens of forged signatures of polling statements and remains aghast that GECOM is yet to provide it with the final list of polling stations including private residences used on polling day as it accused the body of including several private residences at the last moment.
The results gave the APNU with 26 seats and the Alliance For Change (AFC) with seven control of the 65-seat parliament for the first time in history.
The composition of parliament could have been much different but for eagle-eyed opposition Commissioner Vincent Alexander who had demanded that the official announcement be delayed because he had noticed that the commission was readying to give the PPP a 51 percent of the seats despite the fact that it had won less than 49 percent of the vote.
In other words, the APNU is saying that senior commission functionaries who are known to support the PPP were preparing to award the PPP both presidency and majority in the assembly but for the vigilance of Alexander, a university professor.