Only two of eight EU Elections Observer Mission’s recommendations fully implemented

Only two of eight EU Elections Observer Mission’s recommendations fully implemented

Only two of the eight priority recommendations made by the European Union (EU) Elections Observer Mission (EOM) following the 2020 Elections, have been fully implemented.

There has been no movement on the issues of campaign financing and the use of state media, an Election Follow-up Mission has found.

During a press conference held at the Pegasus Hotel today, EU Electoral Analyst, Alexander Matus explained that two of the priority recommendations regarding the publication of Statements of Polls have been implemented in full through provisions contained in the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act. 

“We suggested that clear tabulation procedures, written procedures are implemented, and this has been taken care of by one of the provisions in the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act…and the second priority recommendation called for increased transparency in the response process,” Mr Matus explained.

The EU Chief of Mission, Javier Nart explained further that the Representation of the People Act now provides for clear written procedures for the tabulation of election results.

He reasoned that the new measures will enhance the transparency of the tabulation process, through robust publication of Statements of Poll on the website of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

It was noted that two other regulations relating to the need for continuous registration, and the adoption of a Data Protection Law have been partially implemented.

Mr Nart, however, pointed out that there has been no movement on the issues of campaign financing and the use of the state media.

The Electoral Mission in its recommendations underscored the need for electoral framework to be put in place to regulate campaign financing to allow for transparency and accountability, and even equality in the financing of political parties.

“Financing is critical because controlling of financing, accountability…is very, very important. When a party goes to an election and have no limited of its spending, it is like running with a Ferrari against someone who is on feet. Who is going to win? Of course, the Ferrari wins. So, we have to have an equal playing field and so, the spending has to have a limit,” Mr Nart reasoned.

The Mission had also lobbied for a legal and regulatory system to be put in place to transform the state-owned media into a genuine public service broadcaster. 

“Secondly, the state assets. When you are in power, the possibility of taking public assets for the party, it is something that happens. This is also important,” the Chief of Mission said while noting that in Guyana there is a situation with public media has become government media for the party in power.

Weighing in on the issue, the Mission’s Legal Analyst, Anne Marlborough said there has been no movement on the incorporation of international treaties and conventions, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, into the country’s legal framework.

“We did have a wide range of priority recommendations, and certainly not all of them have been addressed, far from it…In the legal area, the recommendations are very broad, some are around incorporation of international legal standards into the domestic law, because the international and regional standards are really what inform us in our election observation, they are what informed our recommendation. So, at present, several of the instruments that are relevant to elections haven’t yet been transposed into domestic law,” Ms Marlborough explained.

The eight priority recommendations form part of a total of 26 recommendations made by the EU Electoral Observation Mission – the majority of which require changes in the country’s legislative framework and Constitution.

However, with the country now midway through the electoral cycle, the Follow-up Mission believes that there is still time for the electoral reform to take place, though constitutional reform may be much slower.

Mr Nart was keen on noting that the recommendations if implemented in full will undoubtedly enhance the efficacy, transparency and integrity of the electoral process in Guyana.

“Electoral reform is critically important to rebuild confidence in the integrity of the administration of general elections. The EU Delegation supports continued democracy, and good governance in Guyana and wishes to support stakeholders in their efforts to promote such reform,” Mr Nart said.

The EU Election Follow-up Mission has been meeting with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Government, Opposition and Civil Society.

On May 23, a roundtable electoral stakeholder meeting was held.  

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