Since the beginning of our year here we knew there was a chance of a presidential election happening while we were living in GT. May 11th is the day!
So far there are lots of propaganda posters, commercials and flags around the city. Nothing at all exciting–they’re very primitive and standard political stuff. Like, it kind of reminds me of a student body election in high school. It’s extremely different than elections in the States.
The current party in control is being threatened by “the opposition”, but no one is really sure what will happen election day. The current party has been in power for over twenty years, and the opposition is insistent that Guyana has gone downhill with the current leadership. The parties are almost exclusively based on race: the PPP-C being the Indo-Guyanese party and the APNU-AFC being the Afro-Guyanese party.
As in any developing country, there is a chance that the elections will get hasty, violent and out of control. We’ve been warned of past elections when food and water became unavailable due to stores and the market being shut down, people didn’t leave their houses after the morning for weeks and aggression was heightened around the city. Who knows what will happen with this one; we’re going to be prepared to lay low for a little while in case people get out of hand, but I’m also being optimistic that the Guyanese-laziness will shine bright and no one will want to put the effort out to be violent.
Either way, it’s been very interesting and enlightening to experience a political election in a way so totally opposite of the one happening in 18 months in the States.