The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Guyana today released its final report on the 2 March 2020 General and Regional elections. The EU EOM said that it was able to observe and report on all aspects of the election process until 20 March 2020 when, in light of the Covid19 pandemic, it was repatriated to Europe.
The EU EOM offers 26 recommendations to improve future electoral processes. These include eight priority recommendations suggesting to review and consolidate the “fragmented” election legislation; launch a consultation process to overhaul the composition and functioning of GECOM; develop effective legislation to regulate political finance; foster transparency and accountability in online and offline campaigning; transform the state-owned media into a genuine public service broadcaster; adopt clear written procedures for transmission and tabulation of election results; accompany any declaration of results by simultaneous publication of detailed polling station results and digital copies of all Statements of Poll; and establish comprehensive election dispute resolution system.
The EU EOM concluded that overall, the elections were competitive, and contestants could campaign freely, even though the process took place in a “deeply polarised environment”.
The EOM also noted that legal uncertainty, unregulated political finance, biased state media and lack of transparency in the administration of elections characterised the pre-election context.
“Voting and counting were well managed all over the country, as was the tabulation of results in nine of Guyana’s ten regions. However, the integrity of the entire electoral process was seriously compromised by the non-transparent and non-credible tabulation of results in the largest and decisive Region 4 by senior GECOM officials, acting in blatant violation of the law and High Court orders issued in this regard,” the mission said in a release a few minutes ago.
Following an invitation by the President of Guyana, the European Union deployed the first-ever fully fledged EU EOM to Guyana between 25 January and 20 March 2020. In total, the mission comprised 55 observers from 25 EU member states and Norway. The mission’s mandate was to assess the electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections as well as the laws of Guyana.