Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Dr. Steve Surujbally on Wednesday morning appealed for political combats in this pre elections season to be done with the highest level of campaign decorum. He was at the time meeting with almost a dozen political parties that have expressed an interest in contesting the May 11 regional and general elections.
The GECOM chairman observed that campaigning has already begun and requested that all contesting parties ensure that their political speeches and rhetoric remain respectful at all times.
The meeting was geared towards adequately informing the interested parties about the technical and other requirements that should be fulfilled on or before Nomination Day. The elections body has announced April 7 as that day, where parties will have to submit their list of candidates and fulfill other mandatory requirements to constitutionally contest the elections.
Dr. Surujbally explained that the respect which he has appealed for was not just for opposing parties but has to do with the Commission as well as the electorate. “I believe that the days of bradarism in political campaign had been over,” he said, particularly since political parties had maturely signed onto GECOM’s code of conduct at the last elections in 2011.
He recalled that while there were deviations from the guidelines, political parties had adhered to the code to a large extent and noted that he would hate to see political parties revert to what had occurred prior to 2011. He said that the elections body intends to review the code of conduct and make changes to strengthen the weakness identified and will disseminate the new and improved version to contesting parties no later than Nomination Day.
The Chairman told the parties gathered that GECOM also intends to conduct the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner without stepping outside of its legal boundaries, although it is tempted on several occasions to do so. The Chairman and his Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield are hopeful that the elections will be conducted in an environment of peace and appealed for all political parties to support such efforts.
He defended the integrity of GECOM and says more respect needed to be shown for the work the body does. theChairman said Guyanese and the international were very trustful and had a lot of confidence in GECOM and stands ready to rebuke anyone who tries to blemish GECOM’s work.
Among the Parties represented at Wednesday’s event were the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) the Opposition Coalition APNU-AFC, The Independent Party, The Reformers, The Godism Party and Healing the Nation Theocracy Party.
Filed: 11th March, 2015