The resignation of Dr. Keshav ‘Bud’ Mangal as a Commissioner from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Monday has Government contemplating a number of replacements.
One of them reportedly being seriously considered is former Chief Election Officer, Gocool Boodoo.
Boodoo’s contract had ended in 2013, with GECOM deciding not to renew it.
There had been clashes between Boodoo and Opposition-aligned Commissioners on a number of issues, including the manner in which votes were tallied and presented in the 2011 General and Regional Elections in which the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic lost the majority.
A senior GECOM official yesterday said that there will be “strong objection” to any moves to appoint Boodoo as a Commissioner.
“His contract was not renewed in 2013 because we did not see eye-to-eye. This is not likely to change now.”
The PPP/C would badly want an experienced point man in GECOM as the administration prepares for its most crucial of tests to date since sweeping to power in October 1992.
With questions over a number of contracts, spending and transfer of state assets, the administration lost control in Parliament in November 2011 by one seat, and two years before completing his first term in office, President Donald Ramotar faced a no-confidence vote late last year.
To stave off the no-confidence debate, the President prorogued Parliament, expressing the hope that inter-party talks would have cooled differences. However, an energised Opposition refused to engage in dialogue, forcing Government earlier this month to announce May 11 as elections day.
This was in the face of growing criticisms from both local and international bodies, including western missions.
On Monday, Dr. Mangal handed in his resignation to GECOM, reportedly citing ill-health. Mangal is said to be in his eighties and was the longest serving Commissioner. He was one of three PPP/C Commissioners on GECOM.
In addition to the Chairman, the law also provides for the appointment of six members of the Commission with three appointed by the President. The remaining members are appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition after consultations.
GECOM sets policy for voter registration, maintenance of the voters’ list and the administration of all national, regional and local government elections within the legislative framework.
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