Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, Chairman of PPP.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has once again slammed Electoral Commission (EC) for the astronomical increase in filing fees for the 2016 general elections.
According to the party, the rates by the Commission would limit the participation of ‘smaller’ parties in elections which could make Ghana a two-party state.
Dr. Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, Chairman of PPP made the statement at an election assessment workshop organized by Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) at Big Ada in the Greater Accra Region on Monday with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
He explained that smaller parties usually fail to garner more than 12 and half percent of votes per the law for their filing fees to be refunded to them.
Mr. Hammond stressed that the two main political parties in the country- National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) meet the requirement in every election year.
“The reasonable explanation for that huge increase was to limit participation of smaller parties but I don’t believe the framers of the constitution have in mind two parties democracy.
“Because in the law if you get more than 12 percent and half of the votes, your filing fees will be refunded to you. If you look at the seven elections that we have held, the NPP and NDC got over the 12 percent of the half of the votes so all what they paid for the filing fee had been refunded to them. What is the EC benefiting from the financial arrangement? It is the smaller parties who are funding part of electoral process with the over GH₵1,500 but if you cut them off the election is going to be two party system and therefore free,” he stated.
“The main parties in the country would find money to pay for any filing fee which would be requested by the EC since they know they shall get the money back after the elections.
“Even if you set the fee at GH₵1 million, the two main parties will find the money to pay, because they know they are getting it back. Therefore it doesn’t matter how high the fee is set for the two but it will guarantee that the two political parties will be the ones always contesting for power in the country and how is that going to help in the progress of the nation.”
“We believe that we need to seriously look at it and get the EC to take a look at it because it does not help democracy and it does not help multiparty democratic system that we have adopt, because if you set the fee high it will marginalize smaller parties, limit the ability of young Ghanaians to participate in elections,” according to him.
From Vincent Kubi, Big Ada