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Vote twisting in Guyana charged

A team of unofficial international observers claims that many voters in Monday's Guyanese general elections were intimidated and physically stopped from voting for opposition parties.

"We have massive evidence that large numbers of eligible voters were denied their right to vote, and the processing of votes was deliberately stalled," the observers said.

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Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell notes that ballot counting was held up until early Tuesdy becaue of the late arrival of ballot boxes. He writes that it will be hard for the government of President Linden Forbes Burnham and his People's National Congress to escape charges of irregularities in the balloting because of the very slow vote count and delays in formalities.

Meanwhile, the government charged that the observers who claimed there were voting irregularites were predisposed to find election rigging, and denied that there were any serious infractions in voting procedures.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, Burnham had 76 percent of the vote over a longtime rival and former prime minister, Cheddi B. Jagan.

Lord Avebury, a British peer who headed the unofficial observer team, said he planned to file legal action against the Guyanese police for detaining him twice on election day while he was watching the voting.

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