As the clock counts down to Local Government Elections (LGE) 2018, it turns out that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has so far not approved any regional or international observers.This was confirmed when Guyana Times made contact with GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Warde. While she noted that advertisements were published calling for local observers, it is unclear whether any international and regional observers will be brought on board.“The Commission has not approved the regional and international observers. We approved for local observers, hence the advertisements were specifically for local observers. I can’t say whether the Commission has completely ruled out the possibility of international and regional observers, but as of this point that is what they have approved… local observers.”“I think in the past international groups would have expressed an interest, which was subject to the approval of the Commission. I can’t say whether the process was done by just a way of a letter or whether there was an advertisement,” Warde explained.She related that an international observer has expressed an interest in the Local Government Elections. As such, she noted that there is the possibility that observers will ultimately be approved. Warde explained that GECOM will communicate the method that will be used to get these observers on board.“If the Commission makes the determination on the possible inclusion of international observers, then I’m sure they will also provide guidance in terms of the methodology, whether they will advertise or they will write the international and regional groups to indicate their interest.”The last time Local Government Elections were held in 2016, the US embassy and the British and Canadian High Commissions had fielded observer teams. With LGEs expected to go down on November 12, the deadline for local observers to apply was October 11.List of candidates in municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) have already been approved. The Disciplined Services are expected to hit the polls on November 2, with the general population is scheduled to vote on November 12.LGELGE will be held in all municipalities and NDCs in Guyana using a mixed electoral system of Proportional Representation (PR) and First Past the Post (FPTP).The PR electoral system is one in which parties’ gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them in a municipality or NDC. For someone to be elected under the Proportional Representation system, they must be on a party list or voluntary group list. Individuals cannot contest as the PR system.Meanwhile, the FPTP system is one in which an individual gains control by the number of cast for him or her. These candidates can come from a party, voluntary group or as an independent.Fifty per cent of Councillors for each municipality and NDC are elected through the Proportional Representation component, while the other half comes from FPTP component of the electoral system.Under the FPTP system, an individual candidate can contest for only one seat in a single constituency in which he or she is registered and resides. Candidates can only be nominated for one group for the PR and FPTP list.The People’s Progressive Party has already indicated that over 3000 candidates have been put forward by the Party to contest LGEs in all 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs). The other parties will be contesting on a smaller scale.The A Partnership for National Unity will be contesting elections in 76 of the 80 LAAs, while the Alliance For Change (AFC) on Wednesday announced plans to contest only 38 LAAs at the upcoming November 12elections.This announcement follows previous statements made by the party, where the AFC had initially said that the party planned to contest the elections in more than 50 LAAs.
No international, regional observers approved for LGE 2018