President David Granger this evening announced that Monday 2nd March, 2020 would be the earliest date for national elections.
The President’s announcement came in an address to the nation.
“I am pleased to announce that, after discussions with Chairman of the Elections Commission and with my Cabinet, the earliest possible date for the holding of General and Regional Elections will be on Monday, 2nd March 2020″, President Granger said.
He said the Government will be going back to the National Assembly in October to seek an extension to allow for the elections to take place on the 2nd March 2020.
The Constitution at Article 106 (7) states, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”.
According to the President, “the extension of a period beyond three months for the holding of an election is related to the Elections Commission’s readiness to hold the elections. The Government of Guyana must, as a consequence, return to the National Assembly to request an extension. The National Assembly reconvenes on 10th October 2019″.
The President is required to both dissolve Parliament as provided for in the Constitution at Article 70 (2) and the ten Regional Democratic Councils as provided for in the Constitution at Article 73 (2).
He said his Government, since the passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on 21st December 2018, has respected the decisions of the Courts and upheld the Constitution.
“The legal processes were neither frivolous nor aimed at delaying the consequences of the no-confidence motion. They sought to clarify and interpret the Constitution and to ensure that General and Regional Elections would be conducted on the basis of a credible list”.
The announcement of the date follows the proclamation by the Guyana Elections Commission that it will be ready to host elections by the end of February 2020.
At its Tuesday statutory meeting, GECOM also agreed that the Claims and Objections period for the elections will begin on October 1 and will run for 35 days.
The qualifying date for the elections will be December 31, 2019 and the Commission has also agreed to seek advisory help from the United States and the Commonwealth.
The elections will come more than a year after the government lost a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly when one of its own Members of Parliament sided with the Opposition and moved the motion against the government.
The motion-triggered a number of legal challenges that made their way all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice which handed down final orders in July after finding that the motion was validly passed.
Watch President’s full Address to the Nation