Article 13 calls for non-partisan Chairman and Commissioners at GECOM

After waiting for several hours for the registration of members, the Committee of Management had to abandon the Monday meeting and General Elections as members did not show up in their numbers to be part of the meeting.

Article 13 calls for non-partisan Chairman and Commissioners at GECOM

As consultations begin on electoral reform, civil society group, Article 13, is calling for the de-politicization of the Guyana Elections Commission.

In a statement, the group said the absolute starting-point for genuine election and constitutional reform in Guyana must be the fundamental restructuring and reform of GECOM to an independent body that will serve the constitution of Guyana as it was intended to, representing all Guyanese, while standing above the partisan, political fray and independent of political influence.

According to Article 13, the current formula in which politicians from the two major parties fill the seats of the Commission excluding representation of minority parties, must be discarded in favor of a Commission which includes a majority of non-partisan, civil society members, accountable to the Courts rather than political interests.

It was also noted that in carrying out its duties, the Elections Commission must be respected and must have a reputation for fairness under pressure, adding that “at a time of political instability on a national scale when GECOM should have been a force for prudence and reason, pressure from the political parties only added to the disorder”.

The civil society group wants GECOM to be restructured to comprise a majority non-partisan commissioners and led by a non-partisan Chairman.

It also wants to see Commissioners being appointed for a fixed period with no option for renewal. Article 13 also wants the Commissioners of GECOM to be elected by a fully transparent selection process, noting that to be fully effective, complementary election and constitutional reforms must accompany the changes that it recommends.

The group said while it welcomes the initiative to reform the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA) and electoral laws, it is evident that increasing pecuniary and punitive measures is simply not sufficient to redress the systemic weaknesses of a partisan GECOM.

“The basis upon which the structure of the commission is created must be addressed. Article 13 welcomes the Government’s consultation with civil society and look forward to an active role in the development and evolution of the other election laws and the ROPA, however, we will maintain our call to action for the reform of GECOM as requisite for free, democratic and fair elections”, the group said.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login