The PNC/R has no moral authority to speak about electoral reform. By that party’s actions between March and August of 2020, it has demonstrated that it has no place within a democratic formation in Guyana.
The Party is more committed to deforming our country’s electoral laws rather than reforming them. No one is going to take seriously any proposal which is made by the PNC/R on the question of electoral reform.
It is hard to divorce that party from what has been described as the most blatant and barefaced attempt at rigging an election. The PNC/R was caught with its pants down and its jewels exposed.
After what it did it has had the temerity to file an election petition. How serious then can anyone take the PNC/R’s calls for electoral reforms?
The PNC/R is not interested in electoral reforms. In its five years in office, it made no attempt to promote electoral reform. The Party saw the existing system as advantageous to it and in no need of reform.
In its five years in Office, it did more damage to the independence of the Guyana Elections Commission than was done in the previous 20 years. The PNC/R was involved in the most dispicable plan to impose a Chairman on the Guyana Elections Commission, a violation of the Constitution.
And even after the CCJ ruled that the appointment was unconstitutional, the PNC/R was still up to its tricks. It sought to argue that the CCJ ruling gave the President a role in nominating candidates. The PNC/R in the end bullied Bharrat Jagdeo into agreeing to a candidate which was always favoured by the PNC/R.
The PNC/R could not have rigged the elections on Election Day. There were too many checks and controls. So, it attempted the next best thing. It tried to rig the tabulation process. It was only foiled because of the presence of the international community which was prepared to put a halt to the thievery of the elections.
Imagine what would have happened had international observers not been present. The PNC/R would have bullied its way to remain in office. But it could not do that the devious plot to rig the tabulation process was exposed.
Electoral reforms are needed to strengthen democracy, not weaken it. And the PNC/R has proven that it is not interested in strengthening democracy. But democracy and PNC/R do not go together. The PNC/R has proven itself as the most undemocratic party in the history of the Caribbean. It is an utter disgrace to the Region.
The Caribbean leaders saw right through its shenanigans. They refused to be part of the PNC/R’s ploy. They made it clear that those who lose an election must take their licks like a man. The PNC/R’s gambit in having a Caricom Team here was with the hope that that team would have thrown a lifeline to allow the party to remain in power. No such lifeline was offered. The PNC/R stood exposed for its attempts to foist itself on the Guyanese people.
What reforms could the PNC/R support? The PNC/R is only interested in reforms which will give it a clear advantage to regain political power. It had that power and it squandered it.
The present electoral system when combined with the country’s demographics now allow for either of the two main political parties to have a chance at winning an election.
The APNU+AFC had won the 2015 elections by the skin of its teeth. The PPP/C only trumped the Coalition by slightly more than 15,000 votes in the 2020 elections. The present system, therefore, gives both of the main parties a chance at winning.
But the PNC/R has squandered any chance of ever returning to power. It tried to steal the election or to have it stolen in its favour. Unless there are sweeping changes within the PNC/R, it cannot be trusted to operate in a democratic manner.
The Party represents a threat to itself. After what it attempted from March to August of this year, it is fortunate that there have not been calls for it to be banned from any future participation in elections. But that would be undemocratic.
The PNC/R’s crisis is of its own making. Electoral reforms are not going to help it. It has ostracized a significant section of its own base by its electoral dishonesty and its sinister attempt to revert this country to political dictatorship. That such an attempt could have even been contemplated show the depths of depravity to which the PNC/R has descended.
The PNC/R is poisonous to democracy. No electoral reform can redeem that party.
(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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