The PPP has won the presidency, but its inability to secure a parliamentary majority is a demonstration that the people of Guyana are the real victors in the just concluded elections. In this series of articles analysing the results of the elections, this column will draw on the insights of its contributors as to why this elections turned out to be such a shocker.
The results of the elections clearly signal that the Guyanese people have collectively done what constitutional reform and our political leaders have failed to do over the years. Despite the millions and the great investment in time spent on constitutional reform following the 1997 elections, the constitution of Guyana that was agreed was unable to enforce the inclusivity that it spoke so glowingly towards.
At the political level, the PPP also failed to achieve any significant degree of political cooperation. Even after a series of massacres and the inability of the security forces to foresee, prevent or bring to swift justice those behind these attacks, the PPP failed to sustain political cooperation with the opposition.
The supporters of the PPP, who were maligned as being unwilling to change, have eventually shown that they are not very conscious of what is taking place and their failure to go out and vote has led to the PPP being unable for the first time to obtain a majority in the National Assembly.
This is something alien to the PPP and the political culture that it has practiced over the years. The PPP does not understand the language of political cooperation. They have known nothing else in their entire existence but a parliamentary majority when holding the seat of government and as such, they are going to be paralyzed to work under the conditions that this new dispensation demands.
The PPP in short is not going to know what to do. They will blunder their way through the next few months and will be forced by next year to call fresh elections because the PPP simply does not know how to engage in anything other than self-serving political cooperation.
The 2011 elections are going to force the membership of the PPP into deep introspection because these results indicate two things. Firstly, that Bharrat Jagdeo leaves office with a major dent in his credibility having failed to have the PPP achieve a parliamentary majority. And the second lesson from this election for the PPP is that there has to be renewal within the party.
A shake-up of the entire leadership is now needed, since it is clear that the party’s mobilization failed it during these elections. It is now for the first time in its history heading a government that does not have a majority in parliament.
The AFC may believe that it holds the balance of power in parliament. But it should be reminded that it is not beyond the PPP to join forces with the main opposition party, as it did in the past with the PNCR, to deny the AFC any influential role in the politics of this country.
For the AFC, this year’s elections saw another impressive performance. It won two more seats and things can only get better. APNU also did impressively and despite now having the resources at its disposal, was still able to get its supporters out to vote.
The results of the elections will be the topic of conversations right through to Christmas. But for the people of Guyana, they have already decided on what they want to see and if the political parties do not do what the people want, then the writing is on the wall.
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