The demand for house-to-house registration is counterproductive to the APNU +AFC coalition’s chances at the next elections. APNU+AFC is intent on using house-to-house registration as a pretext for delaying elections, but in so doing, it may be acting against its own best interests.
House-to-house registration will disenfranchise more PNCR than PPPC supporters. Disenfranchisement will affect PNCR supporters more than it will the PPPC supporters. For example, it is known that many of the supporters of the PNCR are working in the hinterland, but are registered elsewhere at their place of residence. As such, if they are not a home at the time when the enumerators come around, they will not be registered in their districts.
Second, house-to-house registration will result in an inordinate delay in the holding of the elections. GECOM cannot complete house-to-house registration and the corresponding processes such as fingerprint verification within one year. The idea that house-to-house registration can be completed within six months is more optimistic than realistic.
House-to-house registration is likely to be completed after the five-year life of the government would have expired next May. A constitutional crisis will develop, one that will be more severe than the present crisis.
Third, the longer APNU+AFC stays in office, the more its approval will suffer. The APNU+AFC Government is scandal-stricken. Hardly a week goes by without some damaging allegation. The latest one is the bombshell allegation that the Production Sharing Agreement between Exxon Mobil and the Government of Guyana may have been done without the knowledge of President Granger. If this allegation turns out to be true, it throws a completely different complexion on the workings of the government – one that destroys the credibility of the President and some of his Ministers.
Fourth, a delay in elections will mean that the financial advantage of incumbency is lost. It takes money to run an election campaign. And the PPPC will find it difficult to mobilise over a short period of time the billions of dollars it needs for an elections campaign. It is not in power and has always found problems raising campaign finance when it is out of power.
APNU+AFC on the other hand is in power and can use this to leverage resources from the private sector faster than the PPPC can. A delay in elections, however, will allow the PPPC to have more time to raise campaign finances.
Fifth, the supporters of APNU+AFC feel stung by the no-confidence motion. APNU+AFC can capitalise on these feelings. The longer the elections take to be held, the less galvanised will be the APNU+AFC supporters.
Sixth, APNU+AFC believes that oil production will commence next year. And as such, may be waiting for the oil revenues to boost popularity. But the Coalition does not seem to understand that investors are wary of the political risks of investments. ExxonMobil said that production will begin next year. But that can be pushed back one year, since the oil companies do not wish to be making a massive investment when the future political configuration is uncertain. APNU+AFC may therefore be waiting in vain for oil production to commence next year.
Seventh, there are divisions at present within the PPPC camp. There are factions that are displeased with the PPPC’s presidential choice. A delay in elections will give the PPPC time to overcome these divisions.
It may therefore not be necessarily in the interests of APNU and the AFC to delay the holding of elections. They are likely to suffer greater disenfranchisement than the PPP. The coalition government, in delaying elections, may end up in a far more serious constitutional crisis as a result of the expiry of its five-year term before the completion of house-to-house registration.
The longer elections are delayed the greater the risk of more misconduct being exposed and affecting their approval ratings. The financial advantage they now hold over the PPPC can evaporate by giving the PPPC more time to raise campaign finances. And it’s hard to see how in the short-term an Irfaan Ali can beat a David Granger.
Right now, the supporters of APNU are election-ready. They may not be as ready within the next year given the economic crisis. The Coalition can also end up disappointing their supporters who believe that billions of dollars are going to flow into the government’s coffers next year. With political tensions high, ExxonMobil may be forced to push back its production timelines.
APNU+AFC believes that it is best to delay elections. Sometimes when you are traumatised, you do not think straight.
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