For the first time ever, Guyana could face the very real possibility of having a minority government, meaning that no party has gained more than 50% of the votes cast.
It could mean that one party while winning the Presidency, because of the fact that it would not hold a majority of votes in Parliament, would have to depend on the opposition party (ies) for support in passing legislation, making constitutional appointments and even green-lighting the National Budget.
Following Monday’s General and Regional Elections, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the body tasked with managing the elections’ process, up to late yesterday was still to make an announcement on a Presidential winning party.
Officials believe that the race is a “tight” one between the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the opposition coalition, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU).
There has been growing questions over the possibility of no one party gaining the 51% votes it will need to secure a Parliamentary majority.
According to Attorney-at-law, Christopher Ram, last evening, the scenario is a very relevant one.
Opposition parties which combined, and have control of Parliament, are barred by the constitution from forming a coalition to grab the Presidency.
In the case of a minority government, the President would choose his Cabinet of Ministers as would be the case in a normal situation.
“The practical problem is that the party (ruling) will need the support of the opposition to pass legislations or the critical budget.”
“The opposition parties would not even need a vote of no confidence. The government simply would not have the resources to carry out its functions.”
According to Ram, there could be another scenario. On the very first sitting of Parliament, there is nothing stopping the combined opposition from passing a vote of no confidence.
“In that case, fresh elections will have to be held within three months after that vote of no confidence.”
Ram noted that there are quite a number of countries operating under a minority government.
“You had a government which believed that 51% is equal to 100%…it is a most desirable situation to have a minority government because then the opposition has to be brought into consideration when there are any contemplations of legislations, major appointments and other business of importance.”
There is nothing, he stressed, barring a coalition between the party securing the most votes and an opposition party from teaming up.
“In that case, it can be called a coalition, or better yet…power sharing. Yes, the issue is very relevant.”
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