Chairman of the APNU, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton today said that although the APNU believes in coalition politics, it has no intention of begging the Alliance For Change (AFC) to remain within the coalition.
“We continue to believe in coalition. We will work with coalition partners. We continue to work with the WPA. We’ll continue to do coalition work. We, however, will live with what the reality is; if the AFC decides it will go its way, so be it. We do not intend to beg anyone to stay in the coalition,” Mr Norton told reporters today.
Last Friday, Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan confirmed that his party will be exiting the coalition when the Cummingsburg Accord expires on December 31, 2022 but Mr Norton said to date APNU has not been formally informed.
He said through reports in the press, he learnt of Mr Ramjattan’s intention to engage him on the matter, and therefore, he awaits that engagement.
Mr Norton said APNU understands the positives of coalition politics and will continue to pursue it all the way. However, he said APNU awaits the decision of AFC and will treat with the issue at the appropriate time.
Questioned on whether AFC’s Members of Parliament will be recalled, should the AFC make good on its intention to exit the coalition, the APNU Chairman said the partnership awaits formal notification on the matter.
“When we are formally communicated with, we will then make the decisions as to what we will do. There are a number of options that exist, and we will at the right time respond. I don’t know what the options are at this stage. The options will be dependent on the announcement at the time and the situation at the time,” Mr Norton told reporters.
Weighing in on the matter, APNU Executive Ganesh Mahipaul said relations between APNU and AFC remain good.
“I am not aware that the AFC has detached itself or is detaching itself. From my communication with members in the AFC, I am aware, and knowing also what happens in the APNU, that the agreement between the APNU and AFC, it will expire on 31st December 2022 and what was said to me was that, there obviously would have to be a new agreement, a new discussion, so there can be a new friendship,” MP Mahipaul said.
He said if the two sides cannot find common ground, then so be it, however, the process requires more dialogue.
Apart from the AFC, APNU has had serious discussions with its former coalition partner – the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). “I have engaged the WPA, and we are working one at a time. We will seek to engage all of the political parties to ensure that we can work out a solution,” the APNU Chairman said.
APNU was founded in July 2011 to contest the General and Regional Elections. By 2015, it joined forces with the AFC and won the elections that year.
However, the coalition was booted out of office in 2020 in the highly controversial elections which saw accusations of voter fraud being traded.