With the two main political parties in Guyana both expressing interest in reforming the country’s electoral system, the Head of the EU Observer Mission for the 2020 elections believes it is something that the European Union could possibly lend assistance.
In its final report of the March 2020 elections, the EU Observer Mission offered 26 recommendations including constitutional and electoral reform.
At a press conference today, the Chief Observer for the EU team, Urmas Paet emphasized that the recommendations offered by the Observer Mission seek to prevent a reoccurrence of what took place last year after the elections.
“We made our recommendations because we really want to see that democracy and the democratic system in Guyana strengthened. This is a completely non-selfish goal or idea. So, that is why I say it is up to you and it’s up to your Government and society if you want to implement something from this or not. We made this proposal because we think that it would be good for your democracy… if nothing is implemented from the proposals then it’s your choice, it’s the choice of your Government”, he noted.
In the past few days, the Head of the EU Observer Mission has been meeting with the Government and the Opposition on its final report and the recommendations contained in the report.
“Our Mission finished its job now after we presented the recommendations but the EU Delegation is here permanently in Guyana and of course the EU and EU delegation here in Guyana are absolutely open to continue this work and if there is a wish, a political wish from your Government or from your Parliament then, of course, we are ready to assist”, Mr. Paet said
The Observation Mission has flagged Guyana’s electoral system as one that is of deep concern and one that requires urgent attention before the next elections.
Of the twenty-six recommendations in the report, eight have been listed as priority areas that need urgent attention and those include a review of electoral laws, a consultation on the composition of the Elections Commission, and the development of legislation to regulate political financing and the transformation of the state media.
The Observer Mission head also said there must be a clear process for the resolution of disputes related to elections and the urgent update of outdated laws that govern the electoral process.
On the issue of transparency of the electoral process, the EU official said there is a very clear need for the tabulation process of the election results to be much more transparent.
The report revisits the Region 4 declarations that were made by the Returning Officer and its difference to the Statements of Poll that political parties had in their possession.
Moving forward, the EU team believes there must be a genuine commitment from the political players to ensure changes are made to improve the country’s electoral system.
On Monday, the EU team will hold a consultation with stakeholders on their final report and Guyana’s electoral system.