Guyana elections: Battle lines drawn

Georgetown, Guyana, July 28, 2006 –  The battle lines have been drawn, the die cast and 11 political parties are in the fight over 65 seats at stake in the August 28, 2006 polls.

Political analysts believe that there will be no surprises as to who wins the elections. They are forecasting for the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic. The real battle, it is inferred, will be for the Opposition benches with the new kid on the block, the Alliance For Change (AFC), led by Raphael Trotman, now being regarded as the most serious contender to oust the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR). The AFC is a splinter group of the PNC which later became the PNCR.

The number of parties contesting the elections this year is two less than the previous elections but many smaller parties have merged on a “One Guyana” platform teaming up with the main Opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) to challenge the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) of President Bharrat Jagdeo.

After filing nomination papers for his party President Jagdeo dismissed suggestions by political commentators that Trotman’s AFC can oust his party. Jagdeo insists that the PPP/Civic will remain in control of Parliament.

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) of slain leader Dr Walter Rodney surprisingly is not contesting elections protesting the quality of the voters list. According to the final list there are 492,369 eligible voters.

Members of the disciplined forces will get to vote on August 21 – a week before the polls – while Guyanese living abroad will also have their opportunity. The voters list has already been sent to all overseas missions.

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Dr. Steve Surujbally said there was still much work to be done and was confident that all will be completed. Among the things pending are refurbishing of 1,916 polling stations, recruitment and training of polling day staff, and the distribution of ID cards to about 10,000 voters who have not yet collected their cards.

The parties contesting the polls are: Alliance For Change (AFC), Guyana Action Party/Rise Organize and Rebuild Guyana (GAP/ROAR), Guyana National Congress (GNC), Justice For All Party (JFAP), Liberal Democrats (LD), National Democratic Front (NDF), One Guyana People’s National Congress Reform (OG/PNCR), People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), People’s Republic Party (PRP), The United Force (TUF), and United Muslim Party (UNP).

The ruling PPP/Civic is already out the gates with its new website featuring multi-media products, its manifesto, and news releases.