Guyana Political Parties Gear Up for March 2 General Election

President David Granger and members of the APNU+AFC Coalition (APNU+AFC photo)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Both major political parties in Guyana, the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the governing, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) are gearing up for the country’s next general election on March 2.

The main opposition PPP/C has named retired Brigadier Mark A. Phillips as its prime ministerial candidate for the regional and general election.

Late last month, the party had indicated that it would soon start the process to select a prime ministerial candidate with Opposition Leader and the party’s general secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo saying it had already named former housing minister Irfaan Ali as its presidential candidate.

In a statement, the PPP/C said that, during a meeting of its Central Committee, Phillips “was unanimously endorsed” as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Nomination Day for the March 2 election will be on January 10.

“Mr Phillips has had a long and distinguished career in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) spanning nearly four decades, culminating with his appointment as the eighth Chief of Staff of the GDF, from September 2013, until he retired in October 2016. As a member of the Army, Mr Phillips held a number of crucial leadership positions at various levels and ranks and his consistent upward mobility clearly demonstrated that he acquitted himself with distinction in every position held,” the PPP/C said in the statement.

It said that, apart from his military training, Phillips is also well qualified academically with degrees in public management and several postgraduate diplomas in defence planning and various areas of management.

“Mr Phillips is, therefore, well qualified and equipped to partner with the PPP as its prime ministerial candidate, as it strides forward to win the upcoming elections and form the next Government of Guyana.”

The PPP/C is challenging the coalition, led by President David Granger, who recently launched their re-election campaign in Georgetown. Thousands of supporters, decked out in green, gathered in the Durban Park to see an energetic Granger speak.

In the last election in 2015, the APNU won by a slender one-seat majority in the 65-member Parliament. But Jagdeo, in December 2018, successfully tabled a motion of no-confidence motion (NCM) in the David Granger-led coalition, forcing the early elections.

On January 3, Granger addressed the NCM to the crowd of supporters, saying that “he is unbothered” and is focusing on being re-elected to provide a better life for all Guyanese.

As he did in 2015, Granger promised to push Constitutional Reform, but this time he said the task will be completed. “We’re going to reform the constitution so that nonsense they try to do to us in the last 12 months don’t happen again.”

On December 21, 2018, a No-Confidence Motion was passed against the APNU+AFC Government in the National Assembly which significantly reduced its powers over the past 12 months. The motion needed a majority of 33 to be passed against the one-seat majority Government, according to the Constitution of Guyana. Since one of the members of the AFC, Charrandas Persaud, voted with the opposition, it was a win for the PPP/C.

On September 25, 2019, Granger announced the date for the next general elections.

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