Guyana Elections Commission
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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is the entity responsible for the administration and conduct of elections in Guyana.
GECOM is headed by a Chairman and six Commissioners, and is supported by core staff in its Secretariat. The work of the Commission is supplemented in its elections preparation and administration by thousands of temporary staff.
Prior to 1991, the Elections Commission was composed of a Chairman who was appointed by the President and one member in respect of each political party, including the governmental party, which had not less than five seats in the National Assembly. The Chairman of this Elections Commission had to be a person who at the time was holding or had held office as a Judge of a Court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such Judge. This Commission had a temporary life in that a member had to vacate office within three months of the date of the election for which he/she was appointed to be a commissioner.
Electoral reform in Guyana started in 1990 and continued throughout the period preceding the 2001 General and Regional elections. During this process, the composition of the commission was changed in time for the management of the 1992 general elections. For the 1992 and 1997 elections, the Elections Commission was still a temporary institution constituted for each election. For example, the Commission established by virtue of the Constitution Amendment Act No. 15 of 1995 had a limited life in that it only existed between 12 December 1995 and the date of expiry of three months after the date of the General Elections of 15 December 1997.
The present GECOM was established in May 2000 by virtue of the Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2000, which repealed and re-enacted article 161 of the Constitution on the basis of recommendations emerging from the Constitution Reform Commission that were ratified by Parliament. The re-enacted article 161 re-states the same mechanism for the appointment of the Commission as provided for since the 1992 general election but the Commission is now established as a permanent one. There is as yet no provision for a time limit or the period that commissioners are to serve. All the powers which were previously exercised by or on behalf of the Minister responsible for the preparation for and administration of elections are now vested in the Commission.