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GECOM ready for Nomination Day – PRO

first_imgIn less than eight weeks, Guyanese will be heading to the polls and in preparation for the upcoming March 2 General and Regional Elections, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is all set to host Nomination Day on Friday.GECOM PRO Yolanda Ward at the lunchtime lecture organised by the Guyana Press Association (GPA) on Tuesday at Moray HouseThis is according to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward, who delivered a presentation to members of the media on Tuesday, on the practices, procedures and laws relating to the conduct of Nomination Day.On that day, each party contesting the elections will have to submit their list of candidates for the election of a President, members of the National Assembly and members of the Regional Democratic Councils to the Chief Elections Officer.This will be done at the Umana Yana, High Street, Kingston, Georgetown on Friday from 13:00 to 17:00h.Moreover, the Nomination Day process began last month when political parties had to submit their party symbols to GECOM by December 13, 2019. This, Ward explained, was to allow the Commission to examine the symbols and give approval to avoid issues such as duplication. This way, parties will be informed of ahead of Nomination Day and will be able to make adjustments.However, she explained that parties are allowed also to submit their symbols on Nomination Day as well.GECOM had reported that 19 political parties have submitted symbols thus far and of these, 14 are new parties. While the two main political parties – the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition – have been gearing up March 2 polls, there have been the formation of several new and small parties over the past months. As a matter of fact, so far, there have been 19 parties indicating interest in contending the upcoming elections.According to Ward, the law prescribed that the submissions of the lists of candidates will have to be done strictly on Nomination Day and within the timeframe set – no time earlier or later. She went on to explain how the lists are formed and who should be on each list.The GECOM PRO pointed out that all the lists must be registered electors. For the National Top-Up List, it should comprise of 300-330 nominators, 42 candidates (persons to be elected to sit in National Assembly) who all need a statutory declaration form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths or Justice of Peace, and include the name of the Presidential Candidate.The Statutory Declaration form is what candidates sign to indicate that they are Guyanese and do not have dual citizenship. According to Ward, the onus is on the Candidates to be honest when they sign the statutory forms since the laws do not provide for false declarations made by candidates.Meanwhile, the Geographical Constituency (Administrative Regions) List must include 150-175 nominators from each constituency and no more than 45 candidates.It must be noted that parties are not mandated to contest both General and Regional Elections. Likewise, they are not mandated to contest in all 10 geographical constituencies but they must contest in at least six of those regions.With regards to the Regional Elections, the Regional Democratic Council List must comprise of 150-175 nominators for each constituency – all residing in the said region, and 12 to 36 candidates also from within the region. They too are required to sign a statutory form.Candidates and nominators can only appear on one party’s lists – both National Top-up and Geographical Constituency Lists – but only on one of that party’s geographical lists.Parties are also required to have one-third female presence on their National Top-Up List and same on the combined Geographical Constituency Lists in accordance with gender balance laws.These requirements, as well as others, will be examined by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield on Nomination Day and those parties whose lists, even one, do not meet all the requirements will be deemed defective.Parties will have 24 hours after Nomination Day to notify the CEO in writing of death and/or withdrawals of candidates and/or nominators. In addition, parties can also withdraw their lists but this will have to be done in writing by both the representative and deputy of the lists and before the lists are approved.On January 12, the CEO will inform the representative and/or deputies of the defective lists of same and they will have until the following day to make and submit the corrections.On January 15, the CEO will inform of the approval and/or non-approval of the lists by the Elections Commission. Parties will also have up until January 16 to make any appeals to the High Court based on the decisions of the Commission.Additionally, representatives and/or their deputies will have until January 17 to notify the CEO of any joiner of lists by two or more parties. Finally, on January 19, the titles and symbols of the approved lists of each party will be published in the gazette along with the names of the candidates.The CEO will make these lists available for public scrutiny.last_img read more