04.03.2008 General News

Imposition of parliamentary candidates

By The Daily Dispatch
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The 'imposition' of parliamentary candidates by political parties comes in many forms.

This is done by influential members of the party who impress upon other aspiring candidates to step down for their favoured candidate during primaries.

Another way of doing it is for the party to remind interested candidates of retrospective deadlines which those affected may not be aware of.

In the year 2000, one of the main problems the then ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) faced was the implementation of Plan the first strategy.

A breakaway group, the National Reform Party (NRP) fielded parliamentary candidates and splitted that the NDC would have got.

Apart from this, certain interested persons who wanted to contest the constituency primaries were prevented from doing so.

The impact of the NRP was clear. The votes gathered by their parliamentary candidates cost the NDC at least 12 parliamentary seats.

In addition, the supporters of those NDC activists who were denied the opportunity to contest the primaries did not go out to vote.

This meant the loss of two votes to the NDC - one for its parliamentary candidate, the other for its presidential candidate, the Daily Dispatch newspaper believes.

Eight years later, the paper said, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in the process of 'imposing' candidates, through the second strategy, referring aspirants to a retrospective directive.

Like all other political parties, the NPP first opened nominations in constituencies described as 'orphan', that is where the party does not have Members of Parliament (MPs).

Many of the primaries for these 'orphan' constituencies were won by District Chief Executives (DCEs).

Wisely, the NPP decided to delay the opening of nominations for the 128 constituencies where it has sitting MPs, until last Saturday, March 1,2008.

Then came an announcement last Friday (February 29) that all DCEs and Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs) who were interested in any of the 128 constituencies were supposed to have resigned their positions as far back as November 30, 2007.

Many of the DCEs and MCEs who are interested in filing in some of the 128 constituencies went on various radio stations to deny knowledge of any such deadlines.

The dispatch states that the month March will be time to test the NPP's internal processes of the agrieved MMDCEs have decided to call the bluff of the national executive by file their nominations.

Then came the more ominous one - the struggle by the various factions within the NPP for the 128 constituencies, especially the very safe ones.

How all this will be managed will be a matter of interest. Wouldn't it?

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