This week, Guyana’s Indo-led governing People’s Progressive Party used an unusual clause in the national constitution to duck an opposition no-confidence motion that would have forced it to resign and call general elections in 90 days. The move has raised tensions, triggering political chatter about the strong possibility of civil unrest in the headquarter nation of the Caribbean trade bloc.

Every legislator from the two parliamentary opposition parties, which have a one-seat majority in the 65-member house, turned up at Monday’s first parliamentary sitting since the annual summer break, presumably to cast a vote of no confidence for the administration of President Donald Ramotar. Instead, Ramotar hurriedly invoked a clause in the constitution that allows him to “prorogue,” or suspend, sittings of the National Assembly, for up to six months, empowering him to run the country of 730,000 without the oversight of legislators and avoid elections.

The move engendered widespread condemnation from political parties, even as civil society groups stayed silent. The parties say they are fed up with runaway corruption in the cabinet and other high offices, the closeness of authorities to the cocaine trade, its dilliances with private hit squads, its spending of millions of unapproved state cash and its refusal to bring mega projects to the house for scrutiny.

The suspension immediately pushed the A Partnership For National Unity and the Alliance For Change parties to call for the formation of a broad national coalition. They believe the coalition would be able to force the PPP from office or push it to call elections in a hurry. Should Ramotar call the house back to session, leaders from both parties have already pledged that the vote of no confidence would again be the first order of business.

How the remaining months of 2014 will play out remains to be seen, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the national tension level is rising at a time when the economy is showing signs of slowing down, largely because of plummeting world gold prices. Gold for most of the past decade has been the leading industry in the country.

Justifying the move, the head of state argued that “it was the sole recourse that was left to me to ensure that the life of the 10th parliament was preserved.” But the president was not exactly revealing the full scenario, as he could have also dissolved the house altogether and called general elections, though these are not due for another two years.

The APNU, the larger of the two parties and led by retired army Brig. Gen. David Granger, has already scheduled a mass rally for this weekend, and like the AFC, it has vowed not to accept what they call a one-party dictatorial rule.

Granger dubbed the suspension a move that has “paralyzed the parliamentary process and smothered the voices of the people.” Likewise, the AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo thinks the administration is “a recalcitrant and renegade government” that should be immediately shown the door. Most Indo-Guyanese vote for the PPP, whereas Afros usually line up behind the APNU. Those who like neither gave the AFC seven seats in elections in late 2011.