Guyana president announces May polls to clear impasse

Guyana will hold general elections on May 11, President Donald Ramotar said on Tuesday, after the opposition refused to hold talks to end his two-month suspension of parliament.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 21, 2015, 05:42 AM IST

Georgetown: Guyana will hold general elections on May 11, President Donald Ramotar said on Tuesday, after the opposition refused to hold talks to end his two-month suspension of parliament.

The announcement -- elections were originally due in 2016 -- comes amid mounting international pressure from former colonial ruler Britain, the US and the Organization of American States to end the parliamentary impasse or call early elections. 

Ramotar suspended parliament on November 10 to stave off a no-confidence vote by the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

"I made it clear then that I remained open to dialogue with the opposition parties. It is a door that I did not -- nor do not -- intend to shut, now or ever," Ramotar said in a radio and television address.

Many in the legislature have criticized Ramotar over alleged unauthorized spending, failure to agree to opposition-sponsored legislation and ignoring motions that they have approved.

Britain said earlier this month that parliament`s continued freeze, without an apparent justification, amounted to violation of the nation`s Commonwealth Charter.

The elections should determine who holds the presidency, either by an outright majority or plurality, and the 65-member National Assembly.

There are expected to be 500,000 eligible voters in the South American country of about 750,000 people. 

The incumbent People`s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) this week reiterated that it was confident of regaining its legislative majority that it lost in a 2011 election.

At that poll, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) won 26 seats and the Alliance For Change (AFC) seven seats.