Historic Win for Guyana's Opposition

Historic Win for Guyana's Opposition

May 15, 2015, 4:54 p.m.

Preliminary results indicate that the opposition coalition led by former general David GRANGER won Guyana’s parliamentary elections, which took place this past Monday, May 11th. The winning alliance is made up of five opposition parties, most notably “A Partnership for National Unity” and the “Alliance for Change” (APNU+AFC).  The APNU+AFC won approximately 206,817 votes compared to the 201,457 votes won by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C). 

Although the ruling PPP/C has traditionally been dominated by Guyanese of Indian descent, and the opposition primarily Afro-Guyanese, the APNU+AFC’s success in this election is being largely attributed to its multi-ethnic support and a widespread desire for change after the PPP/C’s twenty-three year reign.  Although President RAMOTAR (PPP/C) has yet to concede the election and is requesting a recount, international observers have deemed the election process to be free and fair, and most doubt that there will be significant changes in the final tally.  Assuming that the current numbers stand, the APNU+AFC will occupy 33 of 65 seats while the outgoing PPP/C will take 32.  The new parliament will most likely elect GRANGER to the presidency. 

The PPP/C is not expected to accept the surprising electoral outcome easily.  President RAMOTAR called the elections after suspending Parliament last November, an action that many attribute to his desire to avoid a vote of no confidence and corruption charges against the party. This backfired and gave the opposition the ability to rally around a common anti-corruption platform that large segments of the population found appealing, regardless of deeply entrenched ethnic divisions. PPP/C leaders have indicated they may seek an injunction from the High Court if the final results are not in their favor. 

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