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History, The PPP in Power

Janet Jagan, Bharrat Jagdeo, Hoyte, Supreme Court of Judicature, PNC

Jagan died in office in March 1997. His widow, Janet Jagan, who was born in the United States, assumed leadership of the PPP. She won election as president in December 1997 after the PPP won 55 percent of the vote. The PNC, which won only 40 percent of the vote, claimed that Jagan’s victory was the result of election fraud. Sporadic outbreaks of political rioting followed the election, and members of the PNC boycotted the National Assembly, refusing to take their seats.

Representatives from a number of Caribbean nations conducted an audit of the election and released their results in June 1998. Their report concluded that the election was conducted fairly. The PNC continued to protest against the Jagan government, however. Hoyte charged the government with corruption and discrimination against Afro-Guyanese citizens. The economy of Guyana declined during 1998, partly as a result of the political unrest. Nervous foreign investors were reluctant to keep their money in Guyanese businesses, and a slowdown in the world economy resulted in lower prices for many of Guyana’s major exports.

In June and July 1998 several weeks of rioting took place in Georgetown. In response, the government declared a state of emergency in the capital. Shortly thereafter, the PPP and the PNC worked out a compromise in which the PNC ended its boycott of the National Assembly. Talks aimed at settling the dispute stalled in early 1999 when the PNC accused Jagan’s government of negotiating in bad faith. In August 1999 Jagan resigned, citing health problems. She was succeeded by Bharrat Jagdeo, an economist who had served as finance minister in Jagan’s cabinet. The PNC refused to recognize Jagdeo’s administration.

General elections in March 2001 returned Jagdeo's administration to power. The PNC accused the PPP of election fraud and appealed to the Supreme Court of Judicature to intervene. The high court upheld the PPP’s victory, sparking street demonstrations by the PNC and its supporters in Georgetown.

Article key phrases:

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