AFC identifies composition of GECOM among key areas for constitutional reform – Demerara Waves Online News – Guyana
Updated on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 10:12 p.m. by Denis Chabrol
The Alliance for Change (AFC) said on Friday it wants Guyana’s constitution to be amended to increase the composition of the Guyana Electoral Commission (GECOM) to 10 members and for political parties to join forces after the general elections. and regional.
AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan, however, feared that a return to the first-past-the-post electoral system would remove him from the National Assembly.
This party, which is in coalition with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), made its position known just days after Attorney General Anil Nandlall tabled legislation that would lead to the creation of a constitutional reform commission.
Mr. Ramjattan explained that his party wanted to see the six-member GECOM grow to 10 with the inclusion of civil society representatives. “There are certain reasons why we think it is necessary because it is not going to do, says the president of the electoral commission, to be the judge of both sides as it is currently constituted so that you can having three other people who can make independent decisions and that can help,” he said. Currently, under the 1990 formula, GECOM is made up of a chairman, who is appointed by the head of the opposition and has a casting vote, and three commissioners each from government and opposition.Over the decades, several international observer groups have recommended reforming the composition of GECOM to make it less political.
AFC President Catherine Hughes said her party also wanted Guyana’s Constitution to be amended to allow political parties to merge after an election. “That was the other very, very strong reform that we wanted to see as well,” she said. For decades now, parties have had to merge before rather than after contesting an election. In 1964, the National People’s Congress and the United Force had united to exclude the People’s Progressive Party which had won the largest block of votes.
On whether the AFC would advocate for Guyana to once again have a first-past-the-post electoral system in which Guyana would have to be divided into constituencies in which the candidate with the most votes would win, Mr Ramjattan fears that ‘a third like his would be ousted from parliamentary decision-making even if he garners thousands of votes. In this regard, he stated that the proportional representation electoral system is the best for Guyana. “We will certainly be annihilated. Proportional parliamentary representation is best for third parties because we could win 49,000 votes without having a single seat in Parliament in the first-past-the-post system and we will be totally against that; we prefer PR – proportional representation – and for that reason we will vigorously oppose anything involving the first-past-the-post system,” he said.
Then, British Guiana’s electoral system was changed from constituency to PR.
Former President Donald Ramotar recently recommended a return to first past the post.