Governing party loses Guyana elections after 23 years

World Today

In Guyana, results of the general election have been announced. They show the governing party, which has ruled the small South American country for the last 23 years, has lost power. But the country still awaits the final, formal declaration.

CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs filed this report from the capital Georgetown.

It’s been three days since polls closed in Guyana’s election. And now, at last, a result

Guyana’s beleaguered electoral commission revealed that with all votes counted the opposition has narrowly defeated the ruling party. The result is provisional, but is expected to be final.

That would make David Granger, a former army commander, Guyana’s new president.

The result is a significant change for this country, where race and politics have long been intimately intertwined.

For the last 23 years, the People’s Progressive Party, the PPP has been in power. Its supporters are almost entirely Guyanese of Indian descent.

The opposition draws most of its support from Afro-Guyanese communities. But it won this election by forming a coalition, and successfully attracting some Indian voters.

With the result so close, the prospect of a further recount or legal challenge by the ruling party remains. But international observers, monitoring the elections, have declared that they saw no significant irregularities.

Voters have been asked to be patient before the formal declaration is made. But, as we discovered in one opposition stronghold, patience is running out.

According to Guyanese law, the electoral authorities have up to 15 days from the close of polls to come up with a final result. But, the pressure is now on to conclude this.