Two days ago, A New and United Guyana (ANUG), the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM) signed a letter to the Chief Election Officer, Keith Lowenfield, informing him that they have formed a combination of lists.
This would be in accordance with Section 22 of the Representation of the People Act which states, “Two or more lists of candidates shall be joined for the distribution of seats (but not for the purpose of voting) if the representative and deputy representative of each list to be so joined gives notice accordingly in writing not later than the 25th day before election day; and lists so joined are hereinafter referred to collectively as a combination of lists.”
According to ANUG’s Presidential Candidate, Ralph Ramkarran, this is the first time in Guyana’s history that this Section of the Act has been invoked and utilized. And for him, it represents a most historic, unified effort to challenge electoral domination of the major parties which he says are forced by the Guyanese context to strive for ethno-political domination as their core, but unspoken, political objective.
Making these and other comments in his most recent writings, Ramkarran said that as far as it is understood, the elections will proceed in the normal way. He said that the three parties will present their individual programmes to the electorate and seek their support. Upon the closure of the polls, the votes will be counted separately and each party will know if it wins or does not win one or more constituency seats as well as the full extent of the votes that it receives.
The Presidential Candidate noted that the agreement for the combination of the lists is significant on several fronts. He was keen to note that parliamentary majorities in 2011 and 2015 have been of one seat. In this regard, Ramkarran said that a single seat in the National Assembly can, therefore, make all the difference between Guyana moving forward with constitutional reform to establish a shared governance system of government or remaining in the political backwater of ethnic competition.
Further to this, Ramkarran said that for the first time in the era of free and fair elections since 1992, egos did not get in the way of political unity in Guyana, limited though it is.
Without allowing enthusiasm to take hold of reality, the Presidential Candidate said that this modest effort at unity can mature into joint campaign efforts which will give an important impetus to the mobilization of those who seek a way out of the politics of ethnic domination.