News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Weds. May 13, 2015: Forty eight hours after voting concluded in Guyana, the country’s Elections Commission has released only preliminary results from the May 11 voting but ironically, both the main opposition coalition and the ruling party on Tuesday claimed a win.
Preliminary results provided by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for three of the 10 regions late Tuesday evening showed the coalition, APNU+AFC, leading with 13,867 of the votes compared to the incumbent PPP/Civic’s 7,070.
At 4:31 p.m. yesterday, one-and-a-half-hour before the GECOM announced the first round results, the APNU+AFC coalition issued a statement claiming a win based on their tabulation of 2,025 Statement of Polls.
The Coalition statement said that with 88 percent of the votes counted, “the APNU+AFC has 182,176 votes, while the PPP/C has 157,947 a variance of 24,229 votes.”
“The APNU+AFC Coalition, therefore, after careful examination of the results can be seen to have a commanding lead in the polls,” the statement added even as they urged supporters to remain calm as the official announcement of the results of the elections is awaited.
An hour later, The People’s Progressive Party (PPP)/Civic issued their own statement, also essentially claiming the victory by the same margin. “At this point our figures show that we are in the lead. The count we have is as follows: PPP/C 182,664 and APNU-AFC 151,095 from 2213 Statements of Poll,” the statement issued by PPP/C Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar stated.
The Party also denounced the APNU-AFC’s election declaration insisting it is “reckless and a wanton demonstration of disregard for the related consequences which can lead to instability.”
The conflicting reports set off a firestorm on social media, where Guyanese, especially in the Diaspora, had used groups and chats to obtain information on the election or to share their thoughts.
APNU+AFC supporters quickly flooded Facebook with congratulations to the Team of David Granger and Moses Nagamootoo while posting messages like: “Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God Almighty We’re Free At Last.”
While PPP/Civic supporters responded with their own postings such as “Go PPP show them who’s BOSS,” following their party’s announcement.
But those without Party affiliations were more cautious, preferring to wait on the official GECOM results. And when election officials only released preliminary numbers at a 6 p.m. press conference, the disgust erupted.
“I’m of the opinion GECOM wrecks mismanagement,” said M’lilwana Osanku. “Changes must be made. … GECOM has not improved from 2011 to 2015.”
“It’s the same thing they do every five years and still they can’t get it right,” commented Samuel Timothy Sukhnandan.
Others were not as civil with some using the forum to curse in Guyanese vernacular. As one woman frankly ranted: “Where is the modda s…t results?”
The confusion came as several international observer missions insisted the elections across the country were free and fair but warned that the only official source of election results is GECOM.
The Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS), led by Senator Lisa Shoman from Belize, issued the same warning Tuesday while lauded the GECOM for running an election that was transparent and inclusive.
The Carter Center for its part lauded poll workers, party agents, and officials of the Guyana Elections Commission for serving “with honesty, integrity, and professionalism.” And strongly urged political parties and their leaders to act responsibly and allow the process to proceed to its conclusion.
The delayed results has already created tensions among the private sector in Guyana, with many businesses afraid to open after Monday night’s fire in Sophia erupted, leaving a home and six cars burnt.