Guyana is a country located in the region of South America. The Indian-dominated party PPP-C ruled Guyana for over two decades after democracy was consolidated. In a very even election in 2015, an alliance dominated by Afro-Guyanans won and David Granger became president. The government lost a vote of no confidence in 2018 and had to announce new elections, but managed to postpone it until March 2020. The result has since been questioned.
A few days after the March 2 election, the Electoral Commission published preliminary results pointing to the opposition party PPP-C leading by 51,000 more votes than President David Granger’s government coalition Apnu-AFC (see Political system). However, one of the ten electoral districts had not yet been counted.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Guyana, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
Due to signs of electoral fraud in the tenth district, the PPP turned to the court to stop the publication of the election results in that region. One result was nevertheless presented in the media and now it appeared as if the ruling Apnu-AFC won, with just over 59,000 votes. In a joint statement, the EU, US, UK and Canada questioned the outcome of the current Region 4, which is the region where the capital Georgetown is located. Ten days after the election, the Supreme Court ordered a recalculation of the votes in the disputed district. But after some day, the OAS withdrew its observers from Guyana, due to deficiencies in “justice and transparency” in the voting bill. The ambassadors from the EU, US, UK and Canada also left the vote in protest.
When the preliminary data from the translation was presented on June 6, the figures pointed to victory for PPP-C, with 33 seats against 31 for Apnu-AFC. But the government coalition rejected the result, claiming that cheating had occurred. Apnu-AFC said it plans to take the case to court.
The distrust vote held in December 2018 should, according to the constitution, have led to new elections within three months. The government lost the vote after a member of the government coalition unexpectedly voted with the opposition and accused the government of acting “dictatorial” against individual members.
But the government claimed that 34 votes were needed for it to go through, not 33, and that the person who switched sides was actually disqualified as a member of parliament because he has Canadian citizenship alongside the Guyanese. The government was not heard in the first instance, but well in the second, which annulled the distrust decision at the end of March 2019. That decision, in turn, was appealed to the Caribbean Court CCJ, which constitutes the highest judicial body (see Political system). In June, the CCJ decided the question: the vote of no confidence was valid and thus new elections had to be announced. Nevertheless, the government has succeeded in delaying it all so that the election is held only a few months before the current term of office expires.
One reason why the government coalition and retired army general David Granger have been trying so hard to postpone the election is the newly discovered oil resources in Guyana. When the first oil was pumped up on December 20, 2019, President David Granger announced that the date will henceforth be celebrated as “National Oil Day”.
Granger also presented a plan for a “national development decade”, with plans to reform the education system. He assured that all Guyanans will earn from the oil and see their standard of living improved.
The oil revenues that are starting to roll in 2020 mean radically new conditions for poor Guyana. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that growth in 2020 could reach 86 percent. According to IMF estimates, GDP can rise almost fourfold in five years.
New economic conditions also provide new political opportunities. Those who are in power when the money starts flowing have a unique opportunity to make targeted investments and reward their support troops (see also Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment).
Bitter contradictions have long prevailed in politics in Guyana. This led to an early election in May 2015 (see Modern History). Ahead of that election, the then opposition parties Apnu and AFC formed a common front against the then ruling alliance PPP-C. The election day itself ended quietly, but both sides proclaimed themselves victors before any official result was forthcoming, and they accused each other of jeopardizing security in the country.
When, after four days, the Election Commission announced the result, it was clear that Apnu-AFC won by just under 5,400 votes, out of a total of about 400,000 cast. Apnus David Granger, who is Afroguyanan, became President and AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo, an Indoguyanan, Prime Minister. But PPP-C refused to admit defeat and claimed that the election was characterized by cheating. Foreign observers, including from the US embassy, on the other hand, felt that the election was right.
The day before the new government took office, outgoing President Bharrat Jagdeo was indicted for inciting rash hate, due to comments he is said to have made at an election. Nevertheless, Jagdeo later became the official opposition leader in the National Assembly for his party PPP.
When David Granger swore the Presidential Declaration on May 26, on Independence Day, he reiterated his message of national unity and ethnic diversity. He claimed to be the first to succeed in bringing together all the major ethnic groups in Guyana, “for the first time in 60 years”.
The government planned to conduct municipal elections within 100 days of its entry. Elections in the municipalities had then not been held for more than two decades. The schedule broke, but the elections were finalized in March 2016. PPP-C, now the opposition party at the national level, won the most votes overall and took control of 48 of 71 municipalities. However, the government coalition won in the larger cities. International observers approved the election, but turnout was only 47 percent.
The background to the vote of no confidence in December 2018 was allegations of financial neglect in connection with the emerging oil industry. The opposition claimed that the oil company Exxon Mobil was given too generous terms.
FACTS – POLITICS
Cooperative Republic of Guyana / Cooperative Republic of Guyana
republic, unitary state
Head of State and Government
President David Granger (2015–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
A Partnership for National Unity-Alliance for Change / Apnu-AFC 33, People’s Progress Party-Civic / PPP-Civic 32 (2015) 1
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
People’s Progress Party-Civic / PPP-Civic 32, A National Unity Partnership / Apnu 26, The Alliance for Change / AFC 7 (2011)
72% in the 2015 parliamentary elections
presidential and parliamentary elections 2025
- The result of the March 2020 elections is not yet complete.