Friday, September 29, 2023

UPDATED: Irfaan Ali sworn in as Guyana’s 9th Executive President

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Guyana’s General and Regional Elections held on March 2, 2020 finally concluded on Sunday with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) declaring the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) as having received the majority of votes and its candidate Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali being elected President of the South American country.

The declaration came after months of delay, tension, uncertainty and a 33-day recount, all marked by a multiplicity of court cases as the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition made allegations of irregularities even while claiming victory for itself.

GECOM Chair Claudette Singh, who heads the highly politicized 6-member commission responsible for conducting elections, made the declaration just after 2:00 pm on Sunday.

Dr. Ali was sworn in as the 9th Executive President mere hours after the declaration was made and soon after appointed Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips as Prime Minister. He also appointed Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, himself a former president, as Vice President, Anil Nandlall as Attorney General and Gail Teixeira as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance. Dr. Ali said the new appointees will form the core of a transition team tasked with putting in place the new administration.

The President said he will be appointing his new Cabinet early this week and will be looking to put systems in place to immediately operationalize the new government. An inauguration ceremony is expected to be held this weekend.

Incumbent President, David Granger, said in a statement that notwithstanding the declaration, the APNU+AFC coalition intends to file an election petition due to its claims of anomalies and irregularities, none of which have been proven. Observers, including regional body CARICOM, had said the recount results are legitimate and should be used to declare the winner.

It is expected that as the new government is put in place it will immediately set out to streamline a number of matters that have been pending since March. This includes government approval for ExxonMobil’s third offshore development project at Payaya, which has already been delayed for several months.

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