Aug 04, 2020 News Comments Off on Carter Center urges Constitutional Reform
Following the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) being declared as the winner of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, the Carter Center is once again calling for the new administration to make constitutional reform a priority.
The Center previously called for constitutional reform in February, urging that it be done before the next election in 2025. They further noted that, based on their engagement in Guyana, they have observed that even though political parties have made repetitive commitments in their manifestos to enact Constitutional Reform, it is not being done.
They are hoping that Guyana’s key leaders can halt the country’s racial divide and combine efforts to ensure the electoral and constitutional reforms are completed before the next election and indicated strong support from the international community.
The internationally recognized organization had also called for constitutional reform in 2017, describing the “winner-take-all” system as a very problematic one. They had also previously stated that the importance of constitutional reform is greater in the wake of Guyana becoming an oil-producing nation, a situation “which has the potential to exacerbate ethnic and political conflicts.”
According to The Carter Center, reform will allow individual candidates to stand for President and remove the limits on candidature for presidential office. Additionally, it will allow membership in the National Assembly to those who join party lists. The organization highlighted the unreasonable limitation on the “freedom of association and on the right to run for an election.”
They also suggested ranked voting. They believe that due to the history of racial polarization this might be the best way forward for Guyana. In their report, they noted that, “This places an incentive on candidates to appeal to voters across party and communal lines.”
The Carter Center had observed the March 2 General and Regional Elections but had withdrawn after they felt that the electoral process was being stalled. They had stated that they were harassed and blocked from executing their mandate on several occasions and felt no sense of security. When the recount was slated to begin, the organization has applied for reentry permission for their staff to observe but then President David Granger had turned down the request, first with explanation and then citing the COVID-19 lockdown.
The organization, in its statement, commended the Guyana Elections Commission and its Chair, Claudette Singh for bringing down the curtains on the General Elections and declaring a winner based on democracy.
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