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Guyana opposition unites to oust president

Monday, May 11, 2015

GEORGETOWN—Guyana goes to the polls to vote in general elections today.

Incumbent President Donald Ramotar of the People's Progressive Party - Civic (PPP/C) is running against David Granger, representing a five-party opposition coalition.

Ramotar, 64, called the elections more than a year early after he dissolved parliament on February 28 to avoid a no-confidence vote. His PPP/C party has been in power for more than two decades. If the PPP/C wins, it will be its sixth consecutive term in office and the second for Donald Ramotar.

Granger, a 69-year-old retired army general, ran against Ramotar in 2011 and lost.

Racial lines
Guyana is ethnically divided, with people of Indian descent historically backing the PPP/C and those of African descent backing opposition parties.

But the new coalition of opposition parties seeks to challenge that tradition of racial politics.

There were long lines at polling stations, with reports of four-hour waits in some places. Ramotar said after casting his ballot that his party would keep its majority.

“I am very confident of victory,” he said. “Very.”

But his party is in a tough fight, as Granger's coalition represents an alternative to the racially based politics that have dominated a country divided between people of Indian and African descent.

Granger predicted his coalition would win with 58 percent of the vote.

“We really want to establish a government of national unity that will make people feel that it is inclusive,” he told reporters after casting his ballot in the capital of Georgetown.

Police and election officials reported no major problems as people formed long lines around the country to vote. Phillipa Brewster, using a walker to support herself as she voted a day before her 93rd birthday, said she would also support the opposition.

Sources: BBC, Washington Post


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