Georgetown, Guyana — Guyana went to the polls on Monday to choose a president and new parliament but up to 7pm on Tuesday the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) was yet to declare a winner and conflicting reports by the main parties – the APNU-AFC and the PPP – each claiming victory have ignited an already agitated public.
Anger is growing in the country as GECOM did the same during the last election in 2011, taking up to four days to report the results. All political parties and the international communities are pleading with the people to remain calm.
The APNU-AFC coalition is claiming victory and said it is doing so to avert violence and share with the public information that it is privy to.
The coalition’s presidential candidate, David Granger, said that, after counting 2,025 statements of poll, APNU-AFC has won 182,176 votes compared to 157,947 by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) – a commanding lead that “we feel will be difficult to close.”
Ganger added, “The APNU-AFC Coalition, therefore, after careful examination of the results can be seen to have a commanding lead in the polls. APNU-AFC continues to urge its supporters to remain calm as the official announcement of the results of the elections is awaited.”
A few hours after Ganger’s announcement, President Donald Ramotar held a press conference to declare victory for his party. Ramotar claimed that, of the 2,213 statements of poll, his party has won 182,664 votes and the coalition 151,095.
The Indian-dominated PPP has been in power for the past 23 years and for the first time in Guyana’s history a multiethnic cultural alliance of Afro- and Indo-Guyanese, Amerindians and Douglas (mixed raced), under the umbrella of the APNU and AFC, formed a coalition headed by Granger.
The PPP administration has been plagued by charges of corruption, nepotism and political witch hunting.
The election has married by incidents of violence and accusation that the ruling party was sending its people to intimidate voters at polling stations. One PPP member of government was reportedly chased by an angry group of voters at a polling station. In another incident, a sympathizer of the PPP was accused of running away with ballot boxes. His home and seven others were set on fire by angry protestors.
The election was monitored by international observers from the OAS, CARICOM, the Commonwealth, UNASUR and the Carter Center.