Political parties propose electoral reforms
Accra, Aug 14, GNA – Political parties under the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) have made proposals for electoral reforms in order to enhance the electoral system.
The political parties comprised those with representations in parliament such as the National Democratic Congress, New Patriotic Party, People’s National Convention and the Convention People’s Party, as well those with no parliamentary representations.
Speaking at the IEA National Stakeholder Workshop on electoral reforms in Accra Dr Ransford Gyampo, a Senior Research Fellow at IEA and Coordinator of GPPP, said two workshops were held for the political parties by the IEA as part of its commitment to deepen Ghana’s democracy to discuss and review Ghana’s electoral system with a view to proposing reforms in the wake of the problems that emerged after the 2012 general elections.
He said the discussion was focused on the role and power of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the conduct of elections, biometric voter registration, voting and documents of the polls, E-voting, elections security and election petitions.
He said after the review by the political parties which was very constructive, they recommended that the EC should work with defined programmes and published timelines to ensure certainty in the implementation of the programmes.
They also recommended that there should be a fixed number of constituencies to be reviewed periodically in accordance with the law and in line population movement as well as paving the way not to limit members of parliament to one district assembly.
‘The parties recommended the joint training for party electoral officials, party agents and security personnel to ensure collaboration on voting day, in addition to empowering the EC to go to court to delete the names of unqualified persons on the voter register,’ he said.
Dr Gyampo said the parties also agreed that the provision in the regulations which states that ‘no verification no vote’ must be maintained and enforced, while the EC conducts sustained and continuous voter registration subject to periodic rigorous auditing of the registers to maintain their integrity instead of the one-off registration of voters.
They also recommended that the security of the polling station should be under the command of the Presiding Officer whilst amending section 46 of Act 284, the Representations of People’s Act which requires written consent of the Attorney General before election related crimes could be prosecuted, to allow the Police to carry out prosecution of all electoral offences.
The parties recommended that presidential elections should be held in November, so that if there is the need for a run-off or challenge, it may be disposed off before the president is sworn in.
Dr Gyampo said, with regard to the E-voting, the political parties recommended that, even though it has some merits, there is the need to do some extensive study and preparatory work by the EC for future implementation.
‘While we urge the EC to listen and fully take the proposals on board, we also call on the media, civil society organisations and all stakeholders not to rest on their oars within this inter-election period but to work and cooperate with the EC to ensure that the proposals are fully implemented to the letter,’ he said.
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