By Abena Rockcliffe
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran is saying that now that the elections dust is settled and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has been unseated, Guyana eagerly awaits a bright future void of the ills that previously characterized its society.
On Saturday last, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) announced the final results of the General and Regional Elections of 2015. The APNU+AFC coalition was declared the party with the most votes and as such was announced to be the party that will form the new government. Later that day, President David Granger was sworn in at Parliament Building before thousands who converged to bear firsthand witness.
In his most recent article, Ramkarran, a former PPP Stalwart, extended congratulations to the APNU+AFC coalition on its historic victory and to David Granger, Guyana’s new President.
In that very article, Ramkarran pointed out that the results of the elections reflect a very close race, as many observers had predicted, “But the APNU+AFC alliance won the right to form the Government.”
He said that the majority of the Guyana’s electorate supported APNU+AFC’s message, ‘It Is Time’.
According to Ramkarran, the fact that that slogan resonated with most citizens shows, clearly that the electorate has grown tired of what the PPP/C was offering.
The former party stalwart said that it is not surprising that the PPP/C has reached this denouement as the Party lost its way since the passing of Cheddi Jagan in 1997. “No longer motivated by his high ideals, it (the PPP/C) allowed one-man rule, arrogance, crime, corruption, nepotism and high living to flourish and become dominant features of its governance.
Ramkarran said that the PPP/C ignored the fact that it lost a significant percent of its support at elections held in 2011. “It deluded itself by a self-serving analysis that apathy caused its supporters to stay away from the polls in 2011. This prompted an expectation that elections with a divisive political strategy will restore its majority. Thus it rejected any idea of a coalition government.”
Ramkarran said that he tried the best he could in numerous articles to project this idea that the 2011 results could presage historic changes. “In ‘Ramotar holds the Pen of History in his Hand,’ (SN 2014/09/28) I argued that the PPP could transform the destiny of Guyana in accordance with its historic mission of 1950 by creating national unity through a coalition government. The shocking reality is that such an option was not even discussed after the elections.”
He said that instead, former President Ramotar preferred to sacrifice part of his first term and a second term, than to sit in a coalition, which PPP founder and former President the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan would have eagerly done, subject to agreed policies, had he faced the same situation.
Turning his attention to the gains of the coalition, Ramkarran pointed out that the APNU made substantial compromises with the AFC and noted that the Cummingsburg Accord (the agreement which bonds APNU and AFC) divided up governmental responsibilities and guaranteed 12 seats in the National Assembly and 40 percent of the Cabinet to the AFC.
He said that the “AFC deserves special mention for the courageous positions it took when it first ensnared a reluctant APNU into supporting a No-Confidence Motion and then changed course and decided to seek an alliance with APNU… it boldly embraced the new approach and pushed forward with the alliance.”
Further, Ramkarran said that the maintenance of its structural independence and a separate campaign strategy allowed the AFC to play upon its distinct strengths. This victory, he opined, was due in no small measure to the bold political decisions of the AFC and the innovative course it charted.
The former House Speaker said that Guyana now enters a new era of alliance politics, which introduces a significant non-ethnic dimension.
Even with such a welcomed dimensional change, Guyana still looks forward for much more, said Ramkarran.
He said that most of Guyana looks forward to measures to reduce poverty and corruption and for constitutional reform, which are all things that the Alliance government promised to do.
Guyana now joins 80 countries around the world that are being run by coalition governments.
In Europe, there are countries like France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine that are being run by coalition governments.
While in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are countries like Panama, Zimbabwe, Guyana’s neighbour, Brazil and the Twin-Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
There are also other countries like India, Iraq, Japan, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia and Sri Lanka that are also being run by coalition governments as well as oceanic countries like Australia and New Zealand which can be found on Oceania.
Much of the confidence placed in the coalition stemmed from the fact that if any of the parties forming the coalition acts in violation of the constitution, the will of the masses, or the law, the other parties are there to sanction them.
The Alliance for Change (AFC) had told its supporters that it will not allow A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to do as it likes and APNU made a similar commitment regarding the AFC.
On February 14, the two political bodies joined forces in a bid to take over the reins of government in Guyana.
The union is steered by the Cummingsburg Accord which stipulates the rights and expectations of both the AFC and APNU.
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