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…regulate campaign financing, restructuring of state media
The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) has returned to Guyana with the sole aim of urging the country’s leaders to act on the recommendations made within its official report on Guyana’s 2020 General and Regional Elections.
These recommendations include overhauling the composition and functioning of GECOM; the implementation of effective legislation to regulate political and campaign financing; transforming the state-owned media and more. On Friday, at the Arthur Chung Conference Center (ACCC), Chief Observer of the EU EOM, Urmas Paet, held a press conference with the media to present, once again, the recommendations included in the mission’s final report.
This even as the team has recently met and discussed the same with stakeholders including President Irfaan Ali; Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly; Leader of the Opposition; the Attorney General; the Chief Justice; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission.
During these meetings, the EU EOM Chief Observer said that all stakeholders have expressed a readiness to corporate. “Now is the time for decisions and actions,” Paet stressed, adding that in order for election reform to be effective, the recommendations made must be implemented in advance of the next election.
For the next General and Regional Elections, the EU EOM has recommended a review and consolidation of the “fragmented” election legislation; the launching of a consultation process to overhaul the composition and functioning of GECOM; the development of effective legislation to regulate political finance and the fostering of transparency and accountability in online and offline campaigning.
The Mission also strongly recommended the transformation of the state-owned media into a genuine public service broadcaster; the adoption of clear written procedures for transmission and tabulation of election results; the accompanying of any declaration of results by simultaneous publication of detailed polling station results, digital copies of all Statements of Poll (SOPs), and the establishment of a comprehensive election dispute resolution system.
For March 22, 2021, the EOM has organised a stakeholder meeting to further present and discuss the recommendations and the commencement of its implementation. It will be open to members of the Government, the National Assembly, political parties, the judiciary, constitutional bodies, civil society and the media.
Paet said that while the EU EOM only offers recommendations, it is confident that the changes it has recommended will be beneficial to Guyana. “It is entirely up to Guyana, your authorities and institutions to decide whether it will take any of the recommendations on board. In this regard, I would like to stress that the European Union stands ready to assist Guyana with the implementation of any of the European Union Election Observation Mission recommendations and with the election reform process in General,” the Chief Observer said.