President of Guyana

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President of the
Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Cacique's Crown Guyana (variant).svg
Presidential Emblem
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Presidential Standard
Secretary Pompeo Holds a Joint Press Availability with Guyanese President Ali (50367901818) (cropped).jpg
Irfaan Ali

since 2 August 2020
StyleHis / Her Excellency
ResidenceState House, Georgetown, Guyana
Term lengthDuration of National Assembly (five years), renewable once
Inaugural holderArthur Chung
Formation17 March 1970
SuccessionPrime Minister of Guyana as First Vice President
DeputyVice Presidents of Guyana
SalaryGY$ 1,800,750 per month[1][2]
Coat of arms of Guyana.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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The President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana is the head of state and the head of government of Guyana, as well as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Republic, according to the Constitution of Guyana. The president is also the chancellor of the Orders of Guyana.[3]

History and description[edit]

When Guyana was declared a republic in 1970 the president was elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term and possessed largely ceremonial powers. Arthur Chung was the only person to hold the office under those legal provisions. Namely, after a 1980 referendum the constitution was amended to make the presidency an executive post (i.e. the office holder would be both the country's head of state and its head of government) and the office became known as the executive president. Forbes Burnham was the first person to become president following these changes.


Pursuant to article 91 of the constitution, the president is elected by the people on the basis of the votes cast in the general election. Each list of contesting parties will on Nomination Day designate a member of their list as that party's presidential candidate. The presidential candidate whose party's list of candidates receives the most votes is deemed to be elected president and holds office for the legislature's duration — which is, in practice, five years.

If two or more candidates who have more votes cast for them than any other candidate receive an equal number of votes, then under article 177(3) of the constitution, the president shall be determined by drawing lots in the presence of the Chancellor of the Judiciary and the public[4]. This process of drawing lots to determine the president has never occurred in the history of Guyana since the creation of the presidency.

Qualification for election[edit]

In order to be qualified to be elected president, a candidate must:

  • Be a citizen of Guyana by birth or parentage
  • Have resided in Guyana for a period of seven years prior to the date of the election
  • Be qualified to be elected a member of the National Assembly, that is to say:
    • Be a citizen of Guyana 18 years and older
    • Be able to speak, and read the English language to an extent which would allow active participation in the proceedings of the National Assembly, unless an incapacity prevents this. In which case this provision will not apply.

Concurrently, under article 155(1) of the constitution, and reinforced by a 2019 ruling of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Guyana, persons holding citizenship of Guyana and any other country (dual citizens) are not allowed to be members of the National Assembly, and consequently would not be eligible to be president[5].

Oath of Office[edit]

Before entering into office, the a person who has been elected or re-elected President must take and sign the following oath of office, the wording of which is specified in the First Schedule to the constitution:

"I (name) do hereby solemnly declare that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the People of Guyana that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana without fear or favour, affeection or ill-will and that in the execution of the functions of that office I will honour, uphold, and preserve the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana."

The phrase 'so help me God' is not specified in the constitution, but may be added at the end of the oath on the personal descretion of the President.

Absence and Vacancy of the Office[edit]

Whenever the president is out of Guyana or is absent from Guyana by reason of illness the Prime Minister, or - if the Prime Minister is already out of Guyana at the same time - any other Minister designated by the president shall assume the office as Acting President until the President is able to resume office.

The constitution also makes provision for a scenario where a president is too ill to transmit the above instructions. In the event this occurs, the temporary sucession would proceed, however the person acting as president is prevented from dissolving the National Assembly without the advice of the Cabinet, and may not revoke Presidential appointments. The person acting as president will cease to do so when the substantive president informs them that he/she is well and able to resume office.

The office of President only becomes vacant in the following circumstances:

  • If the holder of the office dies
  • If the holder of the office resigns via a letter under his/her hand and addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly
  • If the holder of the office is removed for incapacity (pursuant to article 179 of the constitution)
  • If the holder of the office is removed for violating the constitution or gross misconduct (pursuant to article 180 of the constitution)

Where a vacancy in the office exists in the above circumstances, the Prime Minister becomes the new substantive President rather than being an Acting President.

Order of Sucession[edit]

In the event that there is a vacancy in the office of President, article 95(1) of the constitution makes provision for a 'worst case scenario' accounting for multiple levels of vacancy and specifies that the order of sucession to the Presidency shall be:

  • The Prime Minister

(of if there is no Prime Minister)

  • Any Minister who is an elected member of the National Assembly as determined by the Cabinet

(or if there is no Prime Minister, and no Cabinet)

  • The Chancellor of the Judiciary

Presidents of Guyana (1970–present)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reporter, Staff (10 July 2015). "House cuts 'scandalous', 'outrageous' benefits of former Presidents - 'If Jagan were alive, he would have been appalled by the extravagance', says Finance Minister". Guyana Chronicle.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Ramotar blasts arbitrary handout of national awards". Guyana Times. 29 May 2015. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015. ...according to the Constitution of the Orders of Guyana, the President is the Chancellor of the Orders of Guyana and custodian of the insignia, ribbons and records of the orders.
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links[edit]