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21.05.2008 Politics

EC sets out qualification criteria for Election 2008

By GNA
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The Electoral Commission (EC) on Wednesday outlined the qualification for both presidential and parliamentary candidates for Elections 2008, stressing workers of government offices and chiefs were barred by law from contesting while in office.
Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra that any member of the security services and Civil Service, who intended to contest the election, must resign before filing nominations.
They include the Police Service, Prison Service, Armed Forces, Judicial Service, Legal Service, Civil Service, Audit Service, Parliamentary Service and Statistical Service.
The rest are the Ghana National Fire Service, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, Immigration Service and International Revenue Service.
Other categories of personalities barred from contesting elections in Ghana, he said, were individuals who had been declared bankrupt, diagnosed to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal or lunatic.
Dr Afari-Gyan said the electoral laws also barred people who had been convicted for treason or for any offence involving the security of the state, fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude.
He reminded aspiring candidates of the constitutional residency clause, which stated that candidates should be resident in the constituency for which he or she was standing for a total period of not less than five out of the 10 years immediately preceding the election, or should hail from the constituency.
Aspiring candidates are also required to have fulfilled all tax obligations or made satisfactory arrangements with the appropriate authorities for payment.
The EC Chairman urged political parties and individuals interested in contesting the elections to go by the laws governing political party activities.
"We will not hesitate to apply the highest sanctions at any point if the laws are violated."
He also reminded the political parties, that presidential nomination papers would be filed at the EC Headquarters, while parliamentary nomination papers would be submitted to the Commission in the districts.
Dr. Afari-Gyan explained that details required for presidential nominations include particulars of two registered voters resident in every district in the country, a statutory declaration and an assets declaration.
Parliamentary candidates present statutory and assets declaration and provide particulars of 20 registered voters resident in their constituencies.
Dr. Afari-Gyan said a nominated candidate may withdraw his or her nomination at any time before 1700 hours on the day of nomination and the candidate must sign the notice to this effect.
Deposits of candidates who obtain 25 per cent of the total valid votes in the presidential election and 12 per cent in the parliamentary would be refunded.
Those who fail to obtain the required percentage would forfeit their deposit to the state, the Commission Chairman said.
The EC Chairman said the Commission had accepted the challenge to organize free, fair and transparent elections and also challenged the parties to abide by the tenets of the Political Parties Code of Conduct.
On nomination fees, Dr Afari-Gyan said the Commission was yet to meet the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to set the fees.
During Election 2004, each presidential candidate paid a deposit of 2,000 GH cedis (20 million cedis) while each parliamentary candidate deposited 500 GH cedis (five million cedis).

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