The CCJ has passed down its decision after receiving submissions from counsel representing both the sitting government (APNU+AFC) and the PPP. Here is a breakdown of their ruling:
1. The constitution is clear in its directive on what should occur after a vote of No Confidence (NCM) has been successfully passed in the House. Therefore, the government should have resigned and fresh elections held no later than March 21, 2019. Only a motion passed by a 2/3 majority of the House could have legally extended this period beyond March 21, 2019. We know that did not happen.
What should happen next: The immediate resignation of the President and his Cabinet, and their transition into an interim/caretaker position, meaning their right to exercise legal authority in matters of governance is reduced.
2. The CCJ reached its ruling on June 18, 2019, almost three full months after the constitutionally stipulated deadline for new elections would have passed. Due to the filing of the appeal against the NCM, matters were on hold until the final ruling was handed down. There is no known legal recourse to appeal this ruling, it is final and binding.
What should happen next: The now caretaker President (Mr. Granger) and Opposition Leader (Mr. Jagdeo) should expedite the selection of a new GECOM Chairman, and come to a consensus to announce a date for the next General Elections. Since the three-month window from NCM – New Polls has long since passed, and based on the provisions of Article 106 (6) a special parliamentary session should be convened to put to the vote an extension out from the March 21, 2019 date. Given that the Opp. Leader and Mr. Granger are expected to agree on a suitable date before this session convenes, the finalised date for Elections will be locked in.
3. The CCJ noted that it is not the Court’s prerogative to order a date for elections. This is the responsibility of the incumbent government, the opposition and GECOM to work out and agree on.
What should happen next: After the appointment of the new GECOM chairman, the caretaker government and the opposition should meet with this Chairman and finalise an official poll date, which is then announced through the proper channels.
4. The now caretaker APNU government is expected to continue to discharge its governmental functions and should not be waging legal battles or trying to exercise unreasonable legal authority. Since we are already way outside the constitutional timeframe stipulated for new elections after the NCM, it falls upon the APNU to show good judgment and character in working assiduously to mobilise all resources and institutions towards holding credible General Elections.
What should happen next: Have the house-to-house registration completed swiftly and comprehensively, ratify the electoral list and begin campaigning. The Opposition should show good sense and allow this to happen rather than inflaming the situation further. True leaders do not make a bad situation worse just because they can.
I call upon Mr. Granger, Mr. Jagdeo and GECOM to announce a date for elections, do the necessary to produce a credible list of voters and let the next General Election decide who is fit and proper for governance. The electorate is watching you all, and your actions/decisions over the next week or two will show us who our real leaders are.
Executive Member – The Citizenship Initiative
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