The Court of Appeal on Monday has ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the Election Declaration matter. In a majority decision, Appeal Court Judges Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory determined that the words “more votes cast” in Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution mean “more valid and credible votes cast.”
On the other hand, Court Judge, Rishi Persaud, struck the matter out saying that the action is “misconceived”. According to him, the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter and it is for an election petition.
However, Justice Reynolds in his ruling stated that it is the responsibility of GECOM to view both qualitative and quantitative assessments in its determination of credible votes.
The APNU/AFC in a recent statement said the ruling “vindicates” the Coalition’s position. The party describes “more valid and credible votes cast” as not a “mere numerical tabulation of votes” but it is an assessment of the credibility of votes as per Order No. 60 of 2020.
“The APNU+AFC, from the inception of this process maintained that elections cannot be arbitrary and results cannot be based on fraudulent and illegitimate votes. Elections with proven illegitimate and ‘defective’ votes bring into question the credibility of those votes and cannot be foisted upon the people of Guyana. Illegitimate votes cannot be included in the consideration of ‘valid votes’ to determine a credible outcome.”
Meanwhile, during a press briefing, General Secretary of the PPP/C, Bharrat Jagdeo said the court has no jurisdiction to determine these issues, and “the APNU is trying to invalidate valid votes cast.”
According to the ruling by Justices Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory, GECOM can only use valid votes to make a declaration of March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.