While its coalition partner, the Alliance for Change has announced plans of dropping out of the Local Government Elections race, the A Partnership for National Unity has said that its position is different. Though, the party’s leader has not confirmed its non-participation in the upcoming elections, he has vowed to never allow the Ali-led administration to amass control of APNU’s strongholds.
With the March 13, 2023 date set for the holding of Local Government Elections in Guyana, the A Partnership for National Unity is remaining tight-lipped on its participation but continues to advocate for a new voters list.
At the weekend, APNU’s coalition partner, the Alliance for Change announced that it will be boycotting the local government elections if no changes are made to the voters list.
But… APNU says it will continue to protest the bloated list of electors the Government intends to enter Local Government Elections with in March of next year. This as well as engaging civil society groups and the international community on the need for a revised list are among the steps the opposition will continue to take leading up to the elections in hope that the Government would bend to the pressure and arrange for the establishment of the list.
Leader of Opposition, Aubrey Norton told reporters on Tuesday during his weekly virtual press conference that while the AFC forms part of the coalition, it has the right to make its own decision as the APNU. He said APNU will, however, take a different approach in achieving the establishment of a clean voters’ list as time winds down for the elections.
“The PPP hopes that nobody goes and they will get all the seats and dominate and control this entire society. We have made it clear that we will our strongholds,” he said.
In relation to the party’s demands for the voters’ list to be cleansed, Norton explained that contrary to comments made by some members of the Peoples’ Progressive Party, he never suggested that Guyanese living abroad on permanent visas should not be allowed to vote at the local elections.
He pointed out that according to his knowledge, the Guyana Elections Commission lacks mechanisms that facilitate the removal of persons who died overseas after migrating from Guyana.
“How are we going to take off persons who would have migrated and died overseas if we do not have a clean voters’ list? We would not be able to because a lot of the people went overseas, they would have died and there is no mechanism for us to remove them from the list,” Norton added.
To this end, he reiterated that APNU is not against overseas-based Guyanese being present on election day for the purpose of voting, but rather voter impersonation, an act which was allegedly committed during the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
“Any Guyanese who is overseas can go back on the list once they come and register,” he explained.
Last week, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall reminded of the Chief Justice’s 2019 ruling on the issue of removing non-residents from Guyana’s list of electors.
“But failure of registered persons to be present or resident during the house-to-house exercise would not be such a disqualifier and such a person’s name can only be deleted if they no longer meet the qualifying criteria under article 159(2) of the constitution,” he stated.