A retired army general is poised to become Guyana’s new president after a multi-ethnic opposition ¬coalition defeated a party that has been in power for 23 years, officials said. Preliminary results show David Granger and his Partnership for National Unity-Alliance for Change Coalition got nearly 207,000 votes in Monday’s ¬general elections.
The long-governing People’s Progressive Party had almost 201,500 votes. The coalition is expected to have a three or four-seat major¬ity in the 65-member parliament of the South American country.
It previously held a one-seat majority and often clashed with the current president, Donald Ramotar, who forced early ¬elections after suspending and dissolving parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote.
Mr Ramotar rejected the ¬results and said his party was ¬demanding a full recount.
“I cannot concede that I have lost this election,” he said. When asked if he would refuse to give up power, he answered, “I have not closed any option as yet.”
Guyana’s electoral commission said final results would not differ much from the preliminary results ¬released earlier in the day.
The US embassy said allegations about irregularities were unfounded, calling the election “free and fair”.
Ramotar’s party has been in power since 1992 and was seeking a sixth consecutive term while facing accusations of ¬corruption and mismanagement. It has long received ¬support mostly from Guyanese of Indian descent.
Officials said Brigadier General Granger, 69, could be sworn any moment, becoming Guyana’s eighth government leader since the country gained independence from Britain in 1966.
He has promised to end racial politics that have long defined Guyana, a country of nearly 746,000 people who are mainly of Indian and African descent.