APNU now says elections “flawed” but results “credible”
The coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) is now questioning the credibility of the March 2 polls by pointing to discrepancies such as ‘dead’ and ‘migrated voters’ even after the party’s Presidential Candidate and supporters had already declared the elections credible and that David Granger should be sworn in.
In fact, APNU/AFC’s position now is to question the credibility of the Election Day process, even as the party maintains that the results are credible.
The conflicting positions came on Monday, as day six of the National Recount continued at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) venue, when APNU/AFC floor supervisor for the recount, Leonard Craig, in speaking to media operatives said the coalition agents had made note of a number of the anomalies during the voting process on Election Day.
He was at the time responding to concerns raised by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, who on Monday lamented that the party’s agents had been fabricating allegations to attack the credibility of the voting process without substantiating some of the claims that were raised.
It should be noted that prior to this recount, the party—including President David Granger—had dubbed the elections free and fair.
Briefing media operatives on Monday, Craig insisted that on Election Day, “…our agents are not allowed to disturb the electoral process on the day so if you notice a person without ID came in to vote and they did not take an oath of identity, you can’t get up and say let this election stop now and these kinds of things. What you do, raise your objection, allow the process to continue and then you make a note.”
According to Craig, during the period that followed polling day, the reports from the APNU/AFC agents “were scanned with fine-tooth combs.”
“And when we scan that, we are able to pick up, based on all the objections that were made, we are able to pick up these things. And then we corroborate the information based on information that is available, for example, there is the register of deaths, there are information being kept about people who depart, right down to their flight number and destination. All those kinds of things. We have that information.”
It was noted, however, that these issues were not raised when the declarations were being made, nor were they raised prior to the commencement of the national recount.
Commissioner Gunraj had previously indicated that the two major parties—APNU/AFC and PPP/C—both had agents present at all Polling Stations.
Scrutineers serve the purpose of overseeing the voting process and raising objections to diversions from the process as required by law.
According to Section 70 of the Representation of the People Act, as it pertains to the voting process, “The Presiding Officer upon receipt of the identity paper and other documents as directed under Section 69(5) and upon application made to him for a ballot paper the Presiding Officer shall satisfy himself as to the following – that the applicant has not already voted; the identity of the applicant and his entitlement to vote at the polling place.”
Further, the Act stipulates, “For the purposes of Subsection (1) the Presiding Officer may – examine the applicant’s fingers to ascertain if there appears on them any stain of electoral ink; compare the signature of the applicant with that on his identity paper; compare any photograph on his identity paper with his face; compare the thumbprint or other fingerprint recorded on his identity paper with that of the applicant; compare the height recorded on his identity paper with that of the applicant; examine his notice of appointment (if any) to vote as a proxy on behalf of another elector and compare the particulars in the notice with those recorded in the copy of the list of proxies; make such further comparisons as are reasonably necessary between the particulars recorded on his identity paper and those of the applicant; require the applicant to take an oath of identity in Form pursuant to Section 69(3).”
According to Craig, the People’s Progressive Party should not be afraid of the recount as, “the process will reveal the truth and we are going to take this process to its logical conclusion. Let’s go with the process.”
Further, the APNU/AFC agent disclosed too that the coalition’s position is that the recount is also adopting the function of an election petition.
“Normally, this information that we are providing will form part of an election petition because an election petition goes straight to the credibility of the elections. Now, this recount process has two main objectives, and one of those is to determine the credibility of the process. So, this is kind of a hybrid process—it is both a recount and a determination of credibility so it’s part of an election petition and part of an election day activity,” he said.
The coalition agent said that they plan to accumulate all their allegations in relation to improprieties on Election Day, and approach GECOM to conduct a verification of these allegations, such as confirming deaths and migration of voters.
Despite all these concerns over the credibility of the votes that were cast, the party agent insisted that the results that were declared—which have since been declared as lacking credibility by the courts, international observers and the international community—are not lacking credibility.
“We are not saying that it was not credible,” he stated and argued that the incumbent President should have been sworn in based on those results, then the results should have been challenged by way of an election petition.