Opposition coalition wins in Guyana

The APNU/AFC won 206,817 of the votes, with the former ruling party People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) gaining 201,457 votes, after GECOM had processed the 2,299 statements of poll presented by the returning officers.

The multiracial opposition coalition led by former army brigadier David Granger therefore appears to have broken the ruling Indo-Guyanese party’s 23 year-old grip on power, which many hope will usher in a new era in the traditionally ethnically-divided South American nation.

“We are a six-party coalition and we are the closest Guyana has ever gotten to a government of national unity and that makes me very happy,” said Granger at his Georgetown home after results were announced.

Granger, who is set to take the presidency, had vowed to combat corruption, increase public sector salaries and lower individual taxes.

However, President Donald Ramotar refused to concede after Thursday’s announcement, claiming the elections were flawed and demanding a recount, without giving details of his accusations. He also claimed that a number of statements of poll were forged.

In rejecting the results and demanding a full recount, he said, “I cannot concede that I have lost this election.” When asked if he would refuse to give up power, he responded, “I have not closed any option as yet.”

Nevertheless, GECOM said its first tally was unlikely to change on review and US, British and Canadian diplomats, along with international observer missions, also said that the elections were free and fair and that allegations about irregularities were unfounded.

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