Now is time for decisions, actions on election reform – Head of EU Observation Mission

Having presented its recommendations to various stakeholders here, the European Union’s Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Urmas Paet says the its now the time for Guyana to embark on critically needed electoral reforms especially before the country holds another election.

“Now is the time for decisions and actions. For election reform to be effective, its implementation needs to begin well before the next elections are called. Inclusive and transparent reform processes help build confidence in elections and their results,” Paet said at a press conference this morning.

The EU EOM has returned to Guyana one year after being forced to leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic last March.

FLASHBACK: The Chief Observer, Urmas Paet, (second from left) along with other members of the EOM at a media engagement 

According to the Mission Head, their return is not just to present their final report which includes some 26 recommendations but also “kick start” the process for electoral reforms which they believe are essential to improve future elections.

Already, the team has met with President Dr Irfaan Ali, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission Justice ret’d Claudette Singh, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Chief Justice Roxane George and Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd.

Next week, the EU EOM will be holding holding a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders to discuss their recommendations.

According to Paet, who is a Member of the European Parliament, among the stakeholders they invited are members of Cabinet, Parliament, political parties as well members of civil society.

Among the EU EOM’s 26 recommendations, eight are priority suggestions 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.