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05.11.2007 Politics

Sympathy Votes Will Decide - Obetsebi-Lamptey

By Innocent Appiah - newtimesonline.com
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THE New Patriotic Party (NPP) will need a very credible personality who can attract sympathy votes from the Central and Greater Accra Regions to be able to win next year’s general elections.

Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, a presidential aspirant of the NPP, said this during his second-leg tour of constituencies in the three northern regions where he met with constituency executives, polling station chairmen, foot soldiers and opinion leaders of the party to solicit their votes.

“It is these two regions that decide the presidency. Votes from Ashanti Region are entrenched. Votes from the Volta region are entrenched,” he said.

He warned that if the NPP picks any candidate who lacks the capacity to draw votes from these two regions “then it should start writing its handing-over notes”. He added that he is the only candidate that has the capacity to draw votes from these areas, citing his role as the Campaign Manager of the NPP in the 2000 and 2004 elections, which helped the party to sweep the two regions and ultimately the overall elections.

The former Tourism and Diasporan Relations Minister emphasised that the 2008 elections is going to be very crucial, because “the NDC has demonstrated that its support base is resolute having recorded 44 per cent in both the 2000 and 2004 general elections”.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey added that with the current resurgence of the Convention Peoples Party, the party’s fortunes in the Western and Central regions may decline, if it does not choose a candidate who can attract the crucial votes from those areas.

“In 2000, the NPP had a little over 54 per cent and in 2004 it declined to 52 per cent.

The CPP who were our brothers in opposition are now positioning themselves to be a credible alternative to government. With the personalities they are putting up we might not get the sympathy votes from Central and Western regions. That is a fact and we should not be complacent about that.”

“If the CPP succeeds in taking just two per cent of our 52 per cent, there is going to be second round and I do not think that NPP will survive it. That is why the NPP needs a personality like me who can attract these votes that are mainly in Greater Accra and Central regions,” he said.

Touching on his presidential ambitions, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said Ghana has achieved macro- economic stability, but needed a leader who can translate that for people to feel it in their pockets.

He reiterated his plans of making tourism the main driver of economic growth in the country and added that the country needs a leader whose development aspirations will be felt by the ordinary person.

In his view, the presidential race of the NPP is not about who had suffered longest for the party and therefore urged the delegates to vote for a candidate who is capable of poviding leadership that will transform their lives.

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