Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ghana: Electoral Commission accepts need for reforms and calls for recommendations

The Supreme Court verdict - although in theory bolstering the Electoral Commission's (EC) position given its dismissal of the six petitioner counts by varying margins against Mahama, the NDC and the EC - has not been seen as a ringing endorsement of the EC's competence or conduct or of Afari Gyan's leadership. Anticipating the inevitable it is therefore unsurprising that the EC has indeed issued a call to political parties and other observers and stakeholders for recommendations for electoral reforms (to be submitted by November), which it will consider along with criticisms made by Supreme Court justices. Notably, these recommendations are to made - according to the EC - within the existing framework and laws although it is unclear what these boundaries mean in practice.
Publicly, at least, the various parties including the NDC , NPP, People's National Convention (PNC), Convention People's Party (CPP) and the Progressive People's Party (PPP) - among the multitude of officially registered political parties of which only seven fielded candidates in 2012 - have generally welcomed the EC's suggestion but not without criticism.
For example, the NDC's deputy secretary general George Lawson observed that the EC has a tendency to "rubbish what we say" and not listen to suggestions from the Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC, whose influence and power has been relatively insignificant so far. He went on to say that the NDC will meet to decide on any reform suggestions. The NPP's communications director Nana Akomea questioning the date of the elections and the resultant time for second round run-offs should they be needed as well as the need for simplification of the controversial "pink sheets". Other parties cited a need for additional technology to reduce errors and even a more general "overhaul" of the electoral system.
For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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