PNCR leader Robert Corbin has announced that he is not going to be the main opposition’s presidential candidate at next year’s general elections.
The PNCR last evening confirmed that Corbin told a high-level party meeting on Saturday that he was “not going to be the presidential candidate for the 2011 general and regional elections” and that “a major challenge for the party was to find a consensus presidential candidate who could win the confidence of the majority of Guyanese” at the polls. “This, he felt, would have stimulated all to work together and recognise that it was necessary to demonstrate, by hard work and example, that they were capable of undertaking the onerous responsibilities ahead,” the party said in a statement last evening. “He also explained that his decision was motivated by his appreciation of the need to have all available persons working together for the greater task of building a better country for all Guyanese,” it added.
The decision, made at the PNCR’s first General Council meeting for the year, was framed as part of Corbin’s attempt to honour his “commitment to reconciliation” within the party. Under Corbin’s stewardship, the party has had to contend with the departure of a number of high-profile members and supporters, including almost all of the founders of its Reform component. Among those no longer within its ranks are former vice-chairman Vincent Alexander and supporters of his aborted campaign for leadership. Last year, Corbin withstood a strong leadership challenge by former PNCR Chairman Winston Murray, whose bid to lead the party attracted support from many former supporters, including Alexander.
Corbin has faced calls from within and without the party for him to step down since the 2006 general elections, where the PNCR recorded its worst election defeat. His critics have frequently questioned the effectiveness of his leadership.