Guyanese flock to the polls

 

Generally smooth voting was reported today as Guyanese went to the polls to choose a new government.

However, the casting of ballots was temporarily halted at one polling station in the capital Georgetown this morning to allow officials to replace a defective stamp

after several voters complained that the stamp on their papers was not registering all the numbers.

The voters became even more agitated when the polling officer attempted to fill in the missing number by hand, with some claiming that the hand-written number was not the correct digit.

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission Dr Steve Surijbally was forced to visit the polling station at Central High School to reassure registered electors that the stamp would be replaced, and that all votes already cast would be counted as valid.

In all, eight political parties are registered to take part in today’s election, which is seen as a straight contest between the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic, led by Donald Ramotar, and the coalition A Partnership for National Unity-Alliance for Change, headed by David Granger.

Presidential candidate Granger and his wife after casting their ballots today.
Presidential candidate David Granger and his wife shortly after casting their ballots today.

Guyana’s elections are usually contentious, and for this reason a number of international observer missions are in the country monitoring the polls, including teams from the Caribbean Community, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of American States, and the US-based Carter Center.

The head of the Carter Center, former US president Jimmy Carter, who is 90-years-old, left the country prematurely Saturday after complaining of feeling unwell.

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