People’s Progressive Party (PPP) officials had long accused the Government of gerrymandering boundaries in order to secure a win at the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE). However, at his last press conference, the party’s leader, Bharrat Jagdeo accused the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of being a part of the gerrymandering.
He said that PPP will be filing a court action to challenge the actions taken by GECOM, but the party will contest the LGE.
Jagdeo told the media that the court action is the last resort as PPP made attempts to solve the matter in other ways.
Jagdeo said that attempts were made by the PPP-nominated GECOM Commissioners to question the actions he described as partisan. but those attempts proved futile.
Jagdeo conceded that changing the number of Local Authority Areas (LAAs) is the privilege of Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan. However, he noted that it is the role of GECOM to constitute new LAAs where they are created, and reconstitute existing ones where they have been changed.
He said that GECOM has a right to do so fairly and in consultation with political stakeholders but this has not been done. Jagdeo said that the PPP is yet to be consulted.
Jagdeo explained that in the Evergreen/ Paradise LAA (Region 2), Constituencies Eight and Nine were merged and have a total of 692 voters; but Constituencies Five and Six, with 503 voters, were not merged. He noted that the PPP won in Constituencies Eight and Nine and APNU+AFC won in Constituencies Five and Six.
Meanwhile, in the Malgre Tout/ Meer Zorgen LAA (Region 3), Constituencies Five and Six were merged and have a total of 1, 0714 voters; but Constituencies One and Two, with 829 voters, were not merged. Again, the PPP won in Constituencies Four and Six and the APNU+AFC won in Constituencies One and Two.
Further, in the Woodland/Farm LAA (Region 6), Constituencies One and Two were merged and have a total of 990 voters; but Constituencies Eight and Nine, with 851 voters, were not merged. The PPP also won in Constituencies One and Two, and the APNU+AFC won in Constituencies Eight and Nine.
Jagdeo explained that by merging the Constituencies where the PPP won, GECOM is reducing the number of seats won by the PPP in that particular LAA.
He said by not merging the Constituencies where the APNU+AFC won, where there are less voters, GECOM is providing for an increase in the number of possible seats APNU and AFC could win, based on the results at the 2016 Local Government Elections.