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IEA Recommends General Elections In November
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The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has recommended an amendment to the electoral rules to ensure that general elections are held in November instead of December in order to address some of the pertinent challenges in the electoral process.

It said holding general elections in November would give enough time for transition and to dispose of possible run-off and election petition before the elected President is sworn in.

“Given the high stakes involved in the upcoming 2016 elections, the possibility of a run-off and/or another Supreme Court petition cannot be ruled out completely. If this is the case, then we need to prepare and act now,” it advised.

The recommendation is captured in the report of the IEA Electoral Reforms Project which reflects the views of political party representatives and other key political actors on the need to reform the country’s electoral system.

Electoral Reforms Project

The Electoral Reforms Project is in line with the commitment of the IEA, in conjunction with the Ghana Political Parties Platform (GPPP), to improving the country’s electoral system.

In that regard, the IEA held a series of workshops in 2013 and this year to discuss Ghana’s electoral system with a view to proposing reforms in the wake of the problems that emerged after the 2012 general election.

The workshops were attended by representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP), which constituted the IEA-GPPP.

Other participants were the leadership of political parties without representation in Parliament, including the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), United Front Party (UFP) and an independent candidate in the 2012 presidential election, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah.

Representatives of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), civil society organisations and the media also participated in the workshops.

They discussed topics such as Biometric Voter Registration, Voting and Documents of the Polls, E-Voting, Election Security and Election Petitions.

Election Petition

In its recommendation, the IEA stressed the need for election petitions to be disposed of expeditiously to improve public trust in the judiciary and enhance good governance.

It said the petition must not last more than three weeks in a manner akin to what pertained in Kenya, where an election petition received on March 16, 2013 was disposed of by March 30, 2013.

“Bringing the Election Day forward to November 7 would, therefore, allow ample time for run-offs (which are expected to be conducted three weeks after the general elections) and settlement of possible legal disputes after the election,” it said.

Handing over & transition

Furthermore, the IEA said fixing the date for general elections in November would in turn ensure ample time for proper handing over and transition in a manner that would ensure policy continuity and good governance.

It recalled that the political transitions of 2001 and 2009 “were severely inhibited due to the run-offs that took much of the limited time for the handing over of power.”

“Indeed, there were severe time constraints, since the transfers took place within the short period of six days – January 1 to January 6 – for the 2001 transition; and an even shorter period of three days - January 4 to January 6 – for the 2009 transition, as a result of the Tain run-off election,” it emphasised.

The IEA said “given the fragile nature of Ghana’s democracy, we need ample time to iron out all election–related issues and ensure a proper transfer of power from an outgoing leader to an incoming one before the latter’s investiture.”

“The ample time would allow the euphoria of victory and the disappointment of losing an election to settle for proper handing over to take place,” it added.
Source: Daily Graphic

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