The decision by the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM) to merge their lists of candidates for the 2020 Elections was not thoroughly thought out. This is according to The Citizenship Initiative (TCI).
During its election campaign launch on Sunday, TCI opined that the agreement to merge lists of candidates ahead of the much-anticipated elections lacks equity with regard to decision-making.
TCI was approached to join its lists with the three parties on Friday, but declined the offer.
Questioned by the media on the decision, one of the party’s main leaders, Ruel Johnson, said that while TCI respects small parties, signing onto such a poorly planned initiative was not something it was willing to do.
“We were approached. We have all respect for emerging parties, but the initial proposal that was put forward…the construct that was proposed, we had certain issues with it and how it functions; the constitutionality of it. The issue of enforcement, for example, of any possible agreement, and the concept of what you call equity in terms of decision-making,” Johnson explained to a group of supporters.
“We didn’t feel it was strongly thought-out and we didn’t want to be caught up with an agreement that we signed off on in which the particulars – the nuts and bolts – were created after the fact,” he added.
The three small parties which were formed after the December, 2018 no-confidence motion, said that the joiner of lists was ultimately the best way to maximise support.
The parties have not formed a coalition but, while they will contest the General Elections separately, their votes will be tallied together for a possible seat or more in the National Assembly.
The Representation of the People Act permits two or more lists of candidates to be joined as a combination of lists for the distribution of seats, but not for the purpose of voting.
“We realised we are stronger together than divided…we made a decision to change the political culture in Guyana because it has always been for yourself and ‘best come, best serve’… we would like there to be a new culture of togetherness,” TNM presidential candidate, Dr. Asha Kissoon said during a joint press conference held on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Johnson told the media that he respects the decision of the parties, but TCI continues to hold the belief that – despite the merge — it is the third force that Guyanese want to see in government
“We respect the decision and we are comfortable,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, there will be significant plurality in parliament, but we are confident that we would be at the head of that plurality,” he added.