GEORGETOWN, Guyana: Although 32 parties have indicated an interest in contesting the November 28 national and regional elections, the number to actually face the electorate may be closer to 11, Dr. Steve Surujbally, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), says.
Nomination day is October 27 when all political parties that intend to contest the elections must submit their lists of candidates to the chief election officer.
Surujbally said that the Official List of Electors (OLE) to be used for the general and regional elections this year has been certified by chief election officer, Gocool Boodoo and copies given to President Bharrat Jagdeo; leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Robert Corbin; PPP/C presidential candidate, Donald Ramotar, and the other parties that were represented in the recently dissolved Parliament, while other parties are being provided with electronic copies.
The OLE is also accessible on GECOM’s website, and allows voters to check for their names.
Surujbally said that in keeping with its open door policy to accommodate political parties, GECOM has been meeting with their representatives to address concerns and provide any guidance needed in the filling out of nomination forms. GECOM, he said, has so far met with representatives of the PPP/C, the APNU, the AFC, Vision For Change, the Unity Party, the United Force, the Fundamental Structure Group and the Guyana United Muslim Party.
Surujbally also said that GECOM has started printing the OLE on specially designed water-marked paper procured from a reputable overseas supplier that deals with sensitive election materials. Additionally, GECOM is in the process of procuring other sensitive election materials, including ballot paper, statements of poll forms, tally sheets and indelible ink, all of which will be in GECOM’s possession well ahead of Election Day to allow for the logistical arrangements to be put in place for the smooth conduct of the elections in all of the 10 electoral districts.
Surujbally said that all national identification cards issued before October 2009 are being decommissioned, effective November 1, 2011 and that new ID cards will be distributed up to three days before election day.
Surujbally said that the Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) have been accredited as local observer groups and they have agreed to abide by the principles enshrined in the terms of reference for local observers. Foreign observers, namely, the Commonwealth Secretariat, CARICOM, UNASUR and the Organization of American States (OAS), have also been invited by the government to observe the elections.