The APNU+AFC coalition has promised massive constitutional reform in its 2015 manifesto with major changes to the current governance structure which could see Guyanese finally voting in separate elections to elect the President and members of the National Assembly.
The APNU+AFC says Guyanese can also expect a reduction in the executive power that currently resides with the President and a decrease in the immunities he/she is granted under the constitution, all within nine months.
During the 10th Parliament, the APNU and AFC had complained about the powers President Donald Ramotar, who led a minority government, was endowed with and the two parties are now proposing constitutional reform to change that.
The coalition insists that the President should be elected by a majority and executive power shared between him/her, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The coalition proposes that the Prime Minister will be the person who secures the second highest number of votes in the Presidential elections.
The APNU+AFC intends to establish a convention for the President to report annually to the National Assembly and dismantle government control of the media.
The constitutional reform will also see changes made to the composition of service commissions, proposes greater oversight for the Police and Defence forces by the Parliament and seeks to establish a permanent constitutional court of three judges.
Under its good governance action plan the APNU+AFC coalition will seek to fix the term of Parliament for a defined period of five years and by doing so will ensure a statutory date for the general elections.
The 44 page document also promises to ensure transparency and accountability in government by granting access to citizens to all aspects of the government’s transaction and activities and, importantly, adhere to the doctrine of separation of powers under the constitution.
Changes are also promised to the current number of ministries so as to make them more effective in serving the needs of the population.
These proposed legislative, governance and constitutional changes are expected to be drafted by a constitutional reform committee and presented to the National Assembly for approval within the nine months.
The document details the coalition’s commitment to ending the current culture of “winner takes all politics” and notes that members of the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic could be invited into the new Cabinet as the APNU+AFC seeks to build an inclusive, responsive and accountable government.