Guyana was meant to have its general elections next month following the no-confidence motion passed in December. The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) met on Wednesday to vote on whether the elections should hold or be postponed. The results of the vote have seen the election date moved forward.
GECOM is made up of seven members, three were nominated by the incumbent government, three by the opposition and a chairman. One of the members nominated by the opposition abstained from voting and the other two voted against the motion.
The Guyana constitution dictates that once a no-confidence motion is passed, an election should be held to allow for a power shift within 90 days. The only exception to this is if two-thirds of the National Assembly vote to allow an extension. The top reason for moving the elections according to GECOM is the inadequacy of funds.
The commission is expected to carry out a house-to-house registration of voters for which funds have already been allocated. The Chief Elections Officer, in the person of Keith Lowenfield, went ahead to approach the Ministry of Finance for advice on the use of the monies allocated for the house-to-house registration to run the elections. He said the response from the Ministry was that the money was not available at the moment so it could not even be moved over to the elections. It was advised that GECOM visits the National Assembly for a special appropriation towards the elections.