The AFC will not enter into an electoral alliance with the PNCR
After the last visit here by former United States President, Jimmy Carter, it was obvious that the PPP had no intention of making major accommodations towards improving political inclusiveness and thus the Carter Center took a decision that it had other priorities in the world.
In effect, the Center was expressing frustration with the political process in Guyana and was washing its hands of this country, having invested so much of its time and resources after the historic elections of 1992.
The imperialist nations which had a vested interest in ensuring democracy in Guyana also recognized the futility of meaningful political compromise and thus had to come up with a plan to bring about measures that would result in an improved system of governance. If the main political parties, but especially the People’s Progressive Party, were obstacles to this goal and could not voluntarily agree to an improved system of governance, then the imperialist nations would have to find a mechanism to force the parties to work together.
The central hurdle was the fact that the ruling party, following the 2001 elections, held a majority in the National Assembly, and thus was not predisposed towards political accommodation. The imperialists, who know the importance of political and economic stability in Guyana to their own national interests, thus felt that the solution would be to deny the ruling party that parliamentary majority and thus force it to a more consensus mode of politics.
This is how the idea of a third force that would hold the balance of power was conceived in the eyes of the imperialists. They wanted a party to emerge that would hold the balance of power in Guyana. Such a party did eventually emerge and while it did exceptionally well in its first outing at the polls, it was unable to deny the ruling People’s Progressive Party a majority in the National Assembly. As such, there is no third force holding the balance of power at the moment.
Recently the PNCR announced that it will be attempting to reengage the ruling People’s Progressive Party in talks about shared governance. Immediately, the AFC fired off a salvo accusing the two parties of having secret talks. Both have denied this charge and have indicated their willingness to also have dialogue with the AFC. The AFC, of course, can have dialogue with both parties. It can, as it has been doing, cooperate on issues. It has publicly, for example, backed the concept of reduced emissions from avoided deforestation, but has insisted on transparency and accountability of the funds garnered under this initiative. And it was part of the opposition grouping that produced the recent human rights dossier. The AFC would therefore be most disposed towards dialogue and political cooperation on issues of concern to the Guyanese people.
What will never result, though, is an alliance between the AFC and the main opposition, or for that matter, with the PPP. The AFC would find itself with the possibility of holding the balance of power in the next election, and it is most likely to see this far more important to its future than joining with the PNCR to remove the PPP. Doing the latter, could actually result in further polarized voting, thus giving the ruling party an additional advantage.
There may be talks between the AFC and the PNCR, but these talks are not likely to result in any coalition to contest the next elections. The AFC is not into electoral alliances. Its game plan is to try to win the elections on its own and if this becomes too ambitious, then to at least hold the balance of power, thus forcing itself into a position to influence political change.
The PPP’s fears therefore of the AFC camping out with the PNCR are mislaid. The AFC may join with the main opposition in opposing measures of the government, but it will never join an alliance with either the PNCR or the PPP, since it was formed with the possibility of not just offering Guyanese an alternative – an God knows how many alternatives have propped up on our political landscape over the years – but even more importantly, to hold the balance of power in Guyana.
If the AFC ever joined an electoral alliance with either of the main parties to contest the next general elections, it would disappoint those foreign embassies who are bent on ensuring that the PPP’s majority in the National Assembly is checked.