By Ralph Seeram
Don’t hold your breath and cross your fingers folks, there will be no General Election in the near future, despite all the blustering you are hearing from the Government and the Opposition. Believe me, the Opposition does not want a General Election at this time, not AFC, not PNCR/APNU. They are not prepared for it, especially the PNCR, still recovering from the rigging allegations at its last congress.
I think the only Party ready for General Elections right now is the PPP, not the AFC, and certainly not the PNC, which is in shambles, not to mention how divided it is internally at the moment.
Why do I think the AFC’s No Confidence Motion will not go anywhere? The AFC at the moment holds the balance of power in Parliament plus the Speakership of the House; do you seriously believe they want to give that up for an uncertain election? I doubt it very much. Mind you, I am not questioning the motives behind the No Confidence Motion. I agree with them; the Finance Minister Ashni Singh should not have spent money not approved by Parliament, after all, why ask Parliament to approve money if you’re going to spend it anyway, whether they approve it or not. It makes a mockery of Parliament.
But back to the main issue here: what has PNCR/APNU to gain from new elections? What’s in it for them? They know they cannot get over that magical 50% hump to form a government outright. Could they win the Presidency? Maybe, but not in the near future; not in the present atmosphere. As I mentioned earlier, the PNCR because of its internal divisions is not ready for General Elections.
So why did they indicate that they will support the AFC motion to bring down the PPP government? To regain some initiatives. After all, they are the majority Opposition who some felt should have taken the lead instead of the smaller AFC, and at the same time, deflect from the fiasco at their last congress. It is basically a Public Relations move.
Remember, APNU qualified their support by saying there are a few issues to work out with AFC. In essence saying there is still some “fine print” to workout.
Let us assume for a moment that the No Confidence Motion is successful and there is going to be a General Election. What is the strategy of the Opposition? Are they going to join forces and go into the election as one party? Do you really see that happening? That will be opening a new “can of worms” to sort out power; who gets what Ministry and position. Believe me, dividing up power is not easy. Remember AFC’s demands for the Speakership of the house after the last election? Will they demand the Presidency if they win? I am telling you it would not be easy, and these things have to be worked out before going to an election; they may even have to be worked out before debating the No Confidence Motion.
The AFC is on record as saying they will not join forces with the PNCR. If they are to be believed, there will be no joint Party contesting any general election. Remember politicians are regarded as “political whores who will sell out to the highest bidder” the interests that finance these parties may be like the “status quo” and may have a say.
If the Opposition goes into election separately, the risk is they could lose their one-seat majority. At best they can regain majority in Parliament without winning the Presidency, which brings them back to “square one”. At the moment I can’t see the PPP losing the Presidency, which puts them back in Government.
The PPP can also win the House back and this will be even worse for the Opposition. I can see the PPP exacting revenge on the post for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House and other Parliamentary Committees.
My point is, I don’t see any advantage for the Opposition to go into General Elections six months from now as projected. Really, what do they have to gain being in the same position or worse, losing their majority status. Do they really want that? Really?
This is what I think is going to happen: the Opposition will do all their “huffing , puffing and bluffing” for the next few months to get their supporters’ attention, to show they are doing something about that “corrupt government”. While they are talking, the PPP is revamping and streamlining its political machinery for elections. The Opposition has to raise funds; the PPP has funds and the government machinery to its advantage.
After all the “bluffing,’ it is my opinion that APNU is going to leave the AFC “at the altar” giving plausible reasons why it is withdrawing support. Personally I don’t think the AFC wants this no confidence to go through. Do they think they are going to make inroads into the PPP votes in Berbice again? It is unlikely; besides, the PPP is not going to make that mistake again. In all likelihood the AFC will lose their position as a “power broker”.
Let’s for argument sake say the Motion is successful, and the government falls, The government is going to tie it in the courts so long that by the time it reaches the CCJ it would be the constitutional mandatory time for elections in 2016.
Now the PPP has some tough decisions to make also. It might be advantageous for the Party to go to the polls sooner than two years from now. Why? The PNCR is at its weakest; wracked by its last congress and internal divisions. It is also taking a beating from the Rodney Commission of Inquiry (COI). The revelations coming out of the COI are damaging the party and could influence young voters who never experienced the PNC era. If the motion does not pass, the PPP still has an advantage: it can call a snap election if it feels the timing is right to win back the house.
So in all this huffing, puffing and bluffing by the PPP, PNCR/APNU and AFC, which Party stands to gain more from an early election? The PPP. That’s why that No Confidence Motion is all what it is, bluff, and the Opposition knows this… it’s not going anywhere.
Ralph Seeram can be reached at email: [email protected] or on Face book.
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