Guyana votes in closely fought General Election
The people of Guyana will go to the polls today in a general election that is nearly two years early and was announced two months after the President prorogued parliament. The 570,786 eligible voters this time will be voting at 2,299 polling stations between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Results are expected tomorrow morning.
On 10th November 2014 the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government faced a no-confidence vote in parliament and, with a narrow majority, it was clear that the opposition might carry the motion. In an effort to preserve the government President Donald Ramotar decided to close down (prorogue) parliament but faced increasing criticism for his actions from inside and outside the country leading to today’s general election.
In the 2011 general election Ramotar’s People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won 32 of the 65 seats in the National Assembly, a drop of four seats on the previous election. An opposition alliance, the four party ‘A Partnership for National Unity’ (APNU) came second with 26 seats. APNU is made up of the Guyana Action Party (GAP), National Front Alliance (NFA), People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and Working People’s Alliance (WPA). Another party, the Alliance for Change (AFC) won the remaining seven seats.
For the past four years the PPP/C government has been trying to run the country but as a minority government. Today they will try and win back the control they have exercised over the country for the past 23 years and the latest polls suggest they will gain a narrow majority. Opposing the PPP/C will be the combined opposition with the former two main opposition parties, the APNU + AFC standing together to try and make a breakthrough.
Parties in Guyana tend to split along race lines with the PPP gaining greatest support from the Indo-Guyanese community which represents about 43% of the population and APNU which gets most of its support from the Afro-Guyanese community which is about 30% of the population.