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22.10.2008 Politics


By Edmund Mingle -

Excitement and tension characterised yesterday's balloting for positions on the presidential ballot paper for the December elections, as all the seven participating parties claimed that their position on the ballot paper symbolised victory for them on December 7.

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) which found itself at the first spot on the ballot paper, said this represented victory in December.

The People's National Convention (PNC) is placed second after the NPP, a position the party described as symbolising victory since it conforms with its “Two sure, Two direct!” slogan.

The largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), picked the third position, which its officials described as a divine number linked to the “Trinity.”

The fourth spot went to the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), a breakaway group from the NDC, while the Democratic  People's Party (DPP) picked the fifth spot.

The Convention People's Party (CPP) is sixth, while the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) picked the seventh place.

Independent candidate, Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, who was not required to take part in the ballot, has the last spot reserved for him by virtue of the electoral rule that independent candidates come after the parties.

This means that the party symbols and pictures of the flag-bearers will be arranged in the order of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (NPP), Dr. Edward Mahama(PNC), Prof. John Evans Atta Mills (NDC), Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi (DFP), Thomas Ward-Brew (DPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, (CPP), Kwabena Adjei (RPD) and Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah (Independent).

Soon after the balloting, which was supervised by Sarfo Kantanka, the Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission,  some of the parties started coining slogans reflecting their positions on the ballot paper.

There was excitement in the EC's Conference Room as high-ranking executives of the parties gathered for the balloting around 10am.

They laughed and shared jokes, with particularly the NPP and NDC light-heartedly talking about election rigging.

The NDC protested against the use of a transparent box from which the folded papers would be picked, but Mr. Kankanta explained that the box would be held high enough to prevent the representatives from looking into it.

But tension set in as the rules for the exercise were announced by the EC's Director of Elections, Kofi Arhin.

By the rules, a first balloting was done to determine the order in which the second balloting to choose the positions would be done.

The picking for the first ballot was done according to the order in which the parties filed their presidential nominations on October 16 and 17.

According to the result of the first ballot, Francis Kyei, General Secretary of the RPD, picked first at the second balloting, followed by CPP Treasurer, Mike Eghan and the NDC Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, who picked number three in the first ballot and the same number in the second ballot.

Jake Obestebi Lamptey, Director of the Akufo-Addo campaign, picked for the NPP. He picked fourth and first positions in the two events respectively, while John Amekah, General Secretary of the DFP, picked numbers five and four respectively for his party.

Alhaji Ramadan, chairman and Emmanuel Wilson, National Youth Organiser of the PNC, picked in the first and second balloting for the party, while Ward-Brew picked the last for the DPP.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey described his choice of the top slot for his flag-bearer as the doing of God. “This is purely divine,” he told the Times, “an indication that the NPP would be first  in the election results”.

Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, National Organiser of NDC reacted with a shout: “This is the Trinity — God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” showing up three fingers on his right hand.

He said, “NDC believes in God, and the fact that the party picked the number three twice in the two balloting, and the fact that Prof. Mills is contesting for the third time, means God is giving victory to the party.”

Ladi Nylander, chairman of the CPP, told newsmen that although the party does not believe that the position on the ballot would determine how people would vote, the party would continue to market itself, including using its sixth position to get the electorate to identify with the party.

However, party followers said its choice reflcts the attainment of independence — March 6.

As the party executives and members left the conference room to work their placement on the ballot paper into their campaign strategies, some of their followers were heard shouting, “Esoro ho,” “Two sure, Two direct,” “Number three” and “The trinity”, 'March 6', among other slogans.