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The Presidential Debates Committee (PDA) established by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has released the timetable for the series of debates by the candidates of the various political parties.

According to a release signed by Jean Mensah, Executive Director of the IEA, there would be two presidential debates and one vice presidential debate; the first of which is scheduled for Tamale on October 9, 2012 between 6:00pm and 10:00pm.

This will be followed by a Vice Presidential one at Sunyani on November 6 between 6:00pm and 10:00pm.

The Western Regional capital, Takoradi, will on November 20 be the venue for the second presidential debate between 6:00pm and 10:00pm. The duration of each debate would be three-and-a-half hours and by this arrangement, the release pointed out, candidates would be allowed some 45 minutes to speak on the issues which would be broadcast live on radio and TV stations throughout the country.

The exercise would be preceded by advertisements in the major newspapers, requesting for questions from the general public.

The PDC and the representatives of the political parties agreed that thematic areas like national vision and development agenda, the economy, governance, natural resource and management, should form the basis of questions posed to the presidential candidates.

Others are agriculture, food security, housing, water, education, health, sports and well-being, gender, children and youth.

The rest are people with disabilities, corruption/bureaucracy, job creation, infrastructural development, industry/manufacturing sector, private sector development, foreign policy, energy, science and technology including ICT and culture, rule and security.

It was agreed that the committee submits a list of possible moderators to the participating political parties for selection and ranking.

The political parties, the release added, could raise objections to the names proposed and also submit names for possible inclusion in the list.

The highly ranked moderators would reflect the choice of the political parties and would therefore be invited to moderate and pose questions to the presidential candidates.

A Sub-Committee of the PDC, the release went on, would be established to work with selected moderators to decide on the final questions that would be posed to the presidential candidates.

The 2012 debate is the fourth (4th) in the series of Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates organized by The IEA since 2000. They have helped in deepening and consolidating multiparty democracy as well as promoting issue-based discourse in each election year.

The committee invites all organisations and the general public to submit their questions to the IEA. Questions can be forwarded through any of the following channels; The Institute of Economic Affairs Office or by email on [email protected] or [email protected]

The modalities for the presidential debates were reached during a meeting between the PDC and the representatives of the parliamentary political parties on May 29, 2012.

The NDCs decision not to take part in the debates has not affected the elegance associated with the high profile political activities.

The ruling NDC, it has been learnt, are arranging to have the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) organize a similar platform, a move largely condemned on the political terrain as nonsensical and self-serving.
Source: A.R. Gomda

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