Ruling party in Guyana to lead 1st minority gov't

By the Associated Press | December 1, 2011 | 5:15 PM EST

Donald Ramotar, presidential candidate of the ruling People's Progressive Party casts his ballot during presidential and parliamentary elections in Georgetown, Guyana, Monday Nov. 28, 2011. (AP Photo)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana's ruling party will head a minority government that will not control the South American country's parliament, election officials announced Thursday.

Chief Elections Officer Gocool Boodhoo announced that the East Indian-dominated People's Progressive Party led by 61-year-old economist Donald Ramotar won the most seats in Monday's elections but fell short of an absolute majority.

The result is likely to mean turbulent political times for Guyana since opposition parties could control the 65-seat parliament if they are able to work together.

Ramotar's party won 32 seats, four less than it had in the last parliament. The opposition Partnership For National Unity has 26 seats, a gain of four, and the Alliance For Change holds seven, a gain of two.

It is the first minority government since Guyana achieved self-governance from Britain in 1953 and independence in 1966.

Analysts said that will require political compromises in a country largely divided along ethnic lines, between people of Indian and African descent.

Ramotar will be sworn in as president Saturday.