Sanjeev Datadin told the media that his team which argued for the legitimacy of the no confidence motion (NCM) won the battle but lost the war. This was his reasoning, because the CCJ did not stipulate when elections should be held. But there is a huge but.
But why should the judges order an election date when the constitution does just that? The CCJ jurists were acting according to the constitution. The decision to uphold the NCM was their only judgment. They could not go beyond that. They have no legal jurisdiction to go beyond that line of demarcation of their jurisprudence.
I cannot understand Datadin’s distinction, because I don’t believe there is a distinction. Under the constitution, the general election has to be arranged and conducted by GECOM three months after the NCM. It becomes a matter of democracy or dictatorship if there is no election after three months. The CCJ has no authority to issue an edict for a specific date.
GECOM announced that it could not hold elections within three months. What is the bearing of that on the continuation of APNU+AFC in office? As a layman, I could only read the constitution and laws of Guyana like every other lay person and form my opinion.
The difficulty I have is, if GECOM cannot arrange a general election in three months, then by what constitutional article or specific law, can the incumbent stay in power until GECOM is ready? From my understanding of the legal parameters then, if GECOM is unable to process the election physiology, then the ruling party can say; GECOM cannot hold elections and until they do, we will remain in office. I don’t think there is a legal argument for that.
There seems to be an obfuscation plot taking place. The ruling party and the head of government have to stay in office after a successful NCM. To argue against that is like pushing an open door. The opposition and their supporters are exaggerating the words “Cabinet must resign.” The Cabinet and the president remain in place. But here is where the APNU+AFC leaders have become both insidious and invidious. The government can only stay in place for the three months after the NCM.
The APNU+AFC regime is functioning seven months after the NCM. That is not legal. Three months after the NCM, there should have been an election. APNU+AFC was in its right to contest the NCM in court. It did that and lost on June 18. From that date, GECOM should have initiated the process of an election. It says it cannot do that.
But what has that to do with the APNU+AFC regime being in office? Which part of the constitution or which specific law can one point to, to justify a ruling party staying in office because the election body hasn’t got the arrangement mechanism in place to conduct a general poll?
To my mind, this is a constitutional vacuum that has to be fixed, but the ruling party cannot arrogate to itself the privilege of asserting that until GECOM is ready then it will demit office if it loses the upcoming poll. The CCJ President pointed to omissions, which are disturbing and only a mind that puts party above country would ignore the chairman’s warnings.
First, he said once the NCM was triggered, GECOM should have done what it is mandated to do. We in Guyana know that the President and Prime Minister conceded after the NCM was passed, but GECOM remained totally inactive. Secondly, he repeated the first statement in the same form with a different timeframe. He went this time to June 18 and notified the litigants that after June 18, the natural consequences of the NCM should have been manifested, meaning if you care to understand the law, then an election should be on its way.
In December, a NCM was successful. Since then, the GECOM Chairman was deemed to be out of legal order and had to step down and, there is no GECOM Chairman to proceed with the business of GECOM. Here now is where my lack of knowledge comes in and I am resorting to my simple understanding of the law.
If after June 18 there wasn’t preparation for an election, how can the months go by, no election is on the horizon, and the ruling party continues to run the government?
Isn’t there a time period when the implications of no election have to be faced and those implications are that the government cannot continue in office and if it can, by what legal procedure can it? What is the connection between GECOM and the APNU+AFC Coalition remaining in office?
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