NEWS AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. March 3, 2020: Voters in the South American CARICOM nation of Guyana cast their ballots for a new government on Monday, but don’t expect the election results today.
In a country of over 600,000 Guyanese voters, which has found newfound wealth and international fame after a mega Exxon oil find, the Guyana Elections Commission, (GECOM), said the finalelection results are not expected before Friday.
Polls closed last night at 6 p.m. local time (5 p.m. EST), amid heavy voter turn out and a day that went mostly peacefully and smoothly except for three reported incidents including at Mon Repos on the East Coast of Demerara where residents staged a protest after it was alleged that persons attempted to vote with fake ID cards.
Nine political parties competed in the general elections and 11 in the regional elections.
They included the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), led by President David Granger is being challenged by the main opposition party, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP), as well as several smaller parties including: A New and United Guyana (ANUG), the United Republican Party (URP), Change Guyana, the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), the People’s Republic Party (PRP) and The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), The New Movement (TNM).
The Federal United Party (FED UP) and Organization of Victory of the People, (OVP) only contested the regional polls.
However, initial statement of polls published by the Stabroek Newspaper in some of the 10 regions nationally again showed a close battle between the ruling APNU-AFC coalition and the PPP/Civic which has the mostly Indo-Guyanese support with the votes again split along racial lines.
The election was observed by the European Union (EU) Observation Mission as well as the Organization of American States, the Carter Center and the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM).
The new 65-member National Assembly will be elected for a five-year term, and the leader of the largest coalition or party becomes the country’s president to rule over eight billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas have been discovered off the country’s shores.
Under a 40-year deal signed with ExxonMobil Corp and its partners in 2016, Guyana is expected to receive an estimated $168 bn in revenue, more than 120 times the country’s annual budget.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Guyana could see an 86% growth in its economy 2020, with GDP almost doubling to $8.1 billion and per capita income growing to over $10,000.