A lag in vote counting by Guyana’s electoral board is marring the country’s Nov. 28 presidential election, as the opposition accuses the Guyana Electoral Commission of favoring the ruling-party candidate.
Three days after the vote, the electoral body had only counted two-thirds of the votes. The partial results showed economist Donald Remotar, of the governing People’s Progressive Party, with just over 31 percent of the vote, followed by challenger David Granger, of A Partnership for National Unity, with 24.4 percent. Other parties had less than 7 percent of the votes.
The vote brought out the deep ethnic divides in the South American country. The ruling party, which nominated Remotar as a successor to President Bharrat Jagdeo, who has governed since 1999, has been in power for almost two decades, mainly with the support of the East Indian-Guyanese population. The Afro-Guyanese population largely backs the Partnership for National Unity party.
Tristan Moharib, of the Washington-based think-tank Council on Hemispheric Affairs, said that: “regardless of who wins the elections, the next Guyanese president must focus on changing the same old story—managing the tide of racial division in the Land of Many Waters.”
Guyana won independence from Great Britain in 1966, but it still belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations, a 54-member state organization which recognizes the British monarchy as its head. East Indian descendants are the most numerous of Guyana´s 780,000 inhabitants.
The 475,000 Guyanese who went to the polls were also voting for 53 of the 65 members of Parliament.