Home Letters Delaying of elections is denying Democracy
Electoral processes for Local Government, Regional and General Elections are constitutionally guaranteed by the Constitution of Guyana.
As such, the holding of elections is one of the key components in ensuring democracy, because it enhances citizens’ participation in governance, ensuring Government accountability and encouraging political competitiveness.
President David Granger recently announced that he would ensure that he “delivered free, fair and credible elections at the shortest possible time”.
This statement is trying to confuse Guyanese that without a house-to-house registration the elections would not be free, fair and credible; but what are the characteristics of a credible election?
Although there is no standard definition of a credible election, there are some aspects of a credible election, the first and foremost feature of which is that it must reflect the will of the people.
According to Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of Government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage, and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
The present voters list is a reflection of the will of the people, because it was used to conduct the LGE on 12th November 2019, and is valid until April 30th 2019.
The second important criterion of a credible election is that it must facilitate participation by all qualified political parties. Ensuring fair competition among the political parties and candidates is another important attribute of credible elections.
The third fundamental ingredient of credible election is that it must have an impartial and neutral administration at the Guyana Elections Commission, in that the electoral process must be trusted by the citizens.
Building the public’s trust in the elections processes is of the utmost importance to any elections management body around the world. The credibility of elections largely depends on the actual and perceived integrity of the electoral process. More specifically, if citizens believe the electoral process is defective, dishonest, or less than free and fair, they may not accept the outcome.
The Commonwealth places critical importance on strengthening election management bodies, because of the central role they play in ensuring that the right of citizens to elect their leaders through peaceful and credible processes with high integrity is safeguarded.
Some other vital characteristics of credible elections are as follows: the outcome of the elections, or counting of votes, must be accurate and legitimate; an effective legal framework must be in place; security of voters must be ensured before and after elections; there must be access to the media and elections observers in the elections process; and the present Government must be impartial.
When all the variables mentioned above are available in the process, conduct and outcome of elections, then those elections could be considered free, fair and credible.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo must be complimented for the cooperation and efforts he has shown during this period in order to save Guyana from becoming a FAILED STATE.