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04.12.2020 Opinion

A run-off? The historical numbers of the smaller parties

By Jeff Aboagye
A run-off? The historical numbers of the smaller parties
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In 1992, Ghana experienced democratic rule where individuals had the opportunity to represent their political parties in elections. Five (5) presidential candidates represented five (5) political parties. These include; NDC represented by Jerry John Rawlings, NPP represented by Albert Adu Boahen, PNC by Dr. Hilla Limann, NIP by Mr. Kwabena Darko and PHP represented by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine .

This is the order in which the election ended; NDC emerged winner with 2,307,264 votes representing 58.70%, NPP was second with 1,175,622 votes representing 29.91%, also PNC came third with 267,611 votes representing 6.81%, NIP had 110,033 votes representing 2.80% and PHP was last with 69,904 votes representing 1.78%.

In all, 3,930,434 votes were casted. The so-called smaller parties had a total of 447,548 votes representing 11.39%.

Moving on to 1996, this year had the least presidential aspirants which include only three (3) presidential candidates. That is, Jerry John Rawlings for the NDC, John Agyekum Kuffour for the NPP and Edward Nasigrie Mahama for PNC. Once again, NDC won with 4,099,460 votes representing 57.37%, NPP came second with 2,834,878 votes representing 39.67% and PNC was last with 211,136 votes representing 2.95%.

The total votes casted were 7,145,474 but this time there was only one so-called smaller political party with 211,136 votes representing 2.95%. There was an increase of 3,215,040 votes in the 1996 election as compared to the 1992 election.

Now to 2000, this year was the first time the country experienced round-off in the election because no political party crossed the 50% + 1 vote to be declared as the elected president. In this year seven (7) presidential candidates represented seven political parties. John Agyekum Kuffour for the NPP, John Atta-Mills for the NDC, Edward Nasigrie Mahama for PNC, George Panyin Hagan for CPP, Goosie Tanoh for NRP, Dan Lartey for GCPP and finally Dr. Wereko Brobey for UGM.

At the end of the election NPP had total votes of 3,215,261 representing 48.94%, NDC had 2,880,078 votes representing 43.84%, PNC recorded 189,730 votes representing 2.89%, CPP had 115,596 votes representing 1.76%, NRP had 78,696 representing 1.20%, GCPP also recorded 68,567 votes representing 1.04% and the last political party in that election was UGM with 22,123 votes representing 0.34%.

In total, there was a record of 6,570,051 votes casted in which the so-called smaller parties gathered 474,712 votes representing 7.23%. This time round the total votes that were casted reduced by 575,423 votes.

In 2004, only four (4) presidential candidates represented four political parties. These are; John Agyekum Kuffour for NPP, John Atta-Mills for NDC, Edward Nasigrie Mahama for PNC and George Agudey for CPP.

At the end of the election, NPP emerged winner with 4,451,100 votes representing 52.06%, the NDC came second with 3,846,533 votes representing 44.99%, PNC had 170,657 votes representing 2.00% and CPP had 82,274 votes representing 0.96%.

The total votes casted were 8,550,564 which is an increase of 1,980,513 votes compared to the previous year. The so-called smaller parties had 252,931 total votes representing 2.96%.

Now in 2008, this was also another round-off year just like the year 2000. In this year, seven (7) presidential candidates represented seven political parties in addition to one (1) independent candidate. This year happens to be the first time an independent presidential candidate stood for the election. These were the parties and their representatives; NPP was represented by Nana Akufo-Addo, NDC represented by John Attah-Mills, CPP represented by Paa Kwesi Nduom, PNC once again was represented by Edward Nasigrie Mahama, Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi represented DFP, Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah was an independent candidate, Thomas Ward-Brew represented DPP and finally, Kwabena Adjei was the representative for RDP.

After the election, NPP gathered 4,193,018 votes representing 49.04%, NDC gathered 4,096,343 votes representing 47.91%, CPP had 125,468 votes representing 1.47%, PNC had 73,463 votes representing 0.86%, DFP had 28,578 votes representing 0.33%, the independent candidate had 19,001 votes representing 0.22%, DPP had 8,367 votes representing 0.10% and the last political party in that election, RDP had 6,309 votes representing 0.07%.

Summing everything up, total votes for 2008 elections were 8,550,547. The so-called smaller parties recorded total votes of 261,186 which represented 3.05%. In this year, the total votes that were casted reduced by 17 votes compared to last year.

Also, in 2012, there were seven (7) presidential candidates for seven political parties and one (1) independent candidate. John Dramani Mahama for NDC, Nana Akufo-Addo for NPP, Paa Kwesi Nduom for PPP, Henry Herbert Lartey for GCPP, Ayariga Hassan for PNC, Michael Abu Sakara Foster for CPP, Jacob Osei Yeboah as independent candidate and Akwasi Addai Odike for UFP.

NDC won with 5,574,761 votes representing 50.70%, NPP came second with 5,248,898 votes representing 47.74%, PPP was third with 64,362 votes representing 0.59%, GCPP had 38,223 votes representing 0.35%, PNC had 24,617 votes representing 0.22%, CPP had 20,323 votes representing 0.18%, the independent candidate had 15,201 votes representing 0.14%, and UFP came last with 8,877 votes representing 0.08%.

The total votes were 10,995,262. In this year, the so-called smaller parties had 171,603 votes representing 1.56%. Also, if you juxtapose 2012 total votes with 2008, there was an increase of 2,444,715 votes.

Moving on to 2016, six (6) presidential candidates represented six political parties in addition to one (1) independent candidate. These were the presidential candidates with their political parties; Nana Akufo-Addo for the NPP, John Dramani Mahama for the NDC, Paa Kwesi Nduom for PPP, Ivor Kobina Greenstreet for CPP, Edward Nasigrie Mahama for PNC, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings for NDP and finally, Jacob Osei Yeboah as independent candidate.

The ruling party, NPP, emerged winner with 5,627,142 votes representing 53.56%, the opposition party, NDC, was second with 4,694,830 votes representing 44.69%, PPP followed with 104,741 votes representing 1.00%, then CPP with 25,321 votes representing 0.24%, PNC had 22,401 votes representing 0.21%, NDP had 16,533 votes representing 0.16% and the last person was the independent candidate with 15,244 votes representing 0.15%.

Putting everything together, the total votes casted were 10,506,212. The so-called smaller parties gathered a total of 184,240 votes representing 1.76%. Now, the total voters for 2016 also decreased by 489,050 votes as compared to last year.

1992 3 11.39
1996 1 2.95
2000 5 7.23
2004 2 2.96
2008 6 3.05
2012 6 1.56
2016 7 1.58


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In conclusion, Ghana has enjoyed seven (7) uninterrupted general elections since 1996 and the so-called smaller political parties have been actively involved. There have also been two run-offs in these elections, 2000 and 2008. Run-off basically comes about when a candidate in the presidential race fails to secure the constitutional requirement of 50%+1.

Now, from the data above it is clear that anytime the so-called smaller parties get a total percentage of above 3.00%, it is likely the election will go into a run-off. In the year 2000, five (5) smaller parties had a total percentage of 7.23% and the election went into run-off. Also, in the year 2008, six (6) smaller parties had 3.05% and that was another run-off year.

The smaller parties in 1992 pulled closely 12% but didn’t push the elections into run-off because, the main opposition party NPP pulled just 29.91%, that wasn’t enough to push the elections into a run-off. Also, the colossal figure of President Rawlings was significant in the gains the NDC made. The PNDC transitioning into the democratic era with NDC had ruled the nation for 11 years and made built a vibrant network of people and structures coupled with a significant financial and logistical warchest.

In 2020, if the smaller parties are able to amass enough votes that cumulatively gets to 3%, the elections will be pushed into a second round. In this year’s election, aside the two main political parties, NPP and NDC, there are ten (10) so-called smaller parties including independent candidates. This is the only year with a higher number of smaller political parties put together since 1992 and so if these so-called smaller parties are able to amass a total percentage of above 3.0% then it is most likely Ghana will experience the third run-off in elections.

Writer: Jeff Aboagye

Credit: Ghana Election Centre, TheGhanaReport, Electoral Commission of Ghana.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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