I have not mentioned the AFC and APNU in the above caption. The crisis will come to an artificial end soon, and in the aftermath of brokered negotiations, the settlement will see a natural death of those small parties that make up APNU and the AFC. But the very viability of the PNC will be in question as we head down to the next general election, which be held long before 2025.
I envisage a swearing-in of Mr. Granger, whether Justice Holder upholds or discharges his injunctions. I cannot see that strong-headed faction inside the PNC returning to any further tabulation or recounting process. The key to the Granger presidency surviving for the next two years will depend on the concessions the PNC leadership offers the powerful governments that it must enter negotiations with.
It is clear to my mind that the PPP will not use prolonged (note the word, “prolonged”) street protest in strategic areas of the country to press for a fall of the Granger presidency, because they now that it may complicate negotiations, and PPP demonstrations will be used by the PNC leadership to refuse to come to the table. The PPP knows that a long term solution to Guyana’s protracted politic troubles will favour them, given what took place the first two weeks in March this year.
It is clear that the powerful nations that will bring the PPP and PNC to the table will not return to the system of winner-take-all governance as we knew it since Independence. They will demand constitutional rearrangements.
I have written about the future shape of Guyana’s formal politics a few days ago – Monday, March 9, 2020 with the title, “Granger’s second term: Citing Machiavelli,” and Sunday, March 15, 2020, “How does Granger hope to rule?”
This essay is not really an expansion of these two pieces, but concentrates on the future of the PNC after we have a political settlement in the coming months.
I want to be assertive and say there will be a political solution, because the foreign countries that will feature in the negotiations, which no doubt will have a CARICOM presence (the ABC/EU will request and get a CARICOM presence), will be kind and courteous to and understanding with the Granger presidency, but will insist on fundamental changes to the way the system has operated so far. They will not compromise on far-reaching changes.
I am willing to bet that the PNC party will not enter talks as a recalcitrant, and will know that the world expects concessions from it. Maybe as a public relation stunt, the PNC will have at least one leader from the AFC, apart from Raphael Trotman. I am not willing to guess if it will be Ramjattan.
The reason for this is because on Tuesday night of March 3, the PNC leaders, all of them, would have seen from their statements of poll, how badly the AFC Indian leaders have done in 2020 (declining from high intakes in areas in 2006 and 2011 where they got the ballots of disaffected Indian voters who ebbed away in 2015). The PNC leaders, I would argue, no longer see a promising election win in the future with a coalition with the AFC.
I repeat what I wrote in one of those two columns referred to above. Guyana will still have elections after a deal between the PPP, PNC and international actors is brokered in the coming months. There will be no winner-take-all existence, but votes received will be taken into consideration when the new arrangement is set in motion after the election results.
The point of my analysis here is: could the PNC survive as a major party after constitutional changes? My own feeling is that it is not an easy task to say yes. Whatever happened the past two weeks has seriously dented people’s appreciation, admiration and love for the PNC. I cannot envisage the survival of the Granger presidency until 2025. One thing is certain, the PPP and other stakeholders will not accept it in any negotiations. I want to believe the PNC knows this, and will not be obdurate on the issue.
How will its constituencies vote in the next elections? There will always be a large hardcore component that will give the PNC 8 to 10 seats. Remember it lost 5 seats in Georgetown to the AFC in the 2006 general elections. I see serious rejection of the PNC by Amerindian, mixed race and youth voters when this crisis is settled. Maybe other parties may come up and steal substantial votes from the PNC. Really, can or will the PNC survive the events of March 2020?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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