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17.11.2008 Elections

The Dec 7 General Election - Results Out Within 72 Hours • EC Assures Ghanaians

The Electoral Commission (EC) has given the assurance that results of this year's general election will be declared before the 72-hour mandatory period elapses.

This, according to the EC, means the anxiety that usually builds up after the mandatory 72 hours which has been blamed for some of the tension and rumours of rigging, will not be the case this year.

This is because of the introduction of some modern technologies, including gadgets provided by mobile phone operator, MTN.

The EC said the new technology and gadgets would enable the commission to receive the results from remote communities in record time.

Speaking in Tamale, a deputy chairman of the EC, Mr Safo Kantanka, also announced that in all, 1,060 people filed their nominations to contest the 230 parliamentary constituency seats with the Ashanti Region recording the highest number of 159 candidates, while the Upper West Region had the least of 50 aspirants.

The Northern Region had the second highest of 142 candidates, Eastern Region, 139; Greater Accra, 122, Brong Ahafo, 112; Volta Region, 104; Western, 90; Central, 79 and 63 for the Upper East Region.

The NPP filed in 229 constituencies, leaving Ellembelle in the Western Region, while the NDC filed in 228 constituencies.

CPP filed in 202 constituencies, PNC, 126; DFP, 108; Independent candidates are 99; DPP, 48; RPD 11; NVP five, GCPP two and GNP one.

“In spite of the high numbers,” he said, "we do not envisage collation of results in this election to be difficult; we expect it to be better than the 2004 elections."

He added that his outfit was ready for the conduct of the elections as almost all logistics and materials for the exercise were ready.

Mr Kantanka was speaking at a workshop towards a peaceful and credible election organised in Tamale by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) for stakeholders.

He spoke on the topic; “The challenges and prospects of election 2008 — the EC perspective and election 2008: The role of the media and civil society”.

Mr Kantanka, however, asked the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in particular to admonish their supporters against intimidation, antagonism and harassment, for, as he noted, they were the main source of political intolerance.

"Delivering credible elections is the responsibility of all stakeholders; we do not want our election to be regarded as a warfare; we must build on our track record of successes in past elections," the deputy chairman stated.

The deputy chairman further observed that the challenges posed by this year's polls would not be different from what the commission had experienced in the past, "except that people want to win at all costs".

"When you start an election with the suspicion that it would not be credible, it creates cause for concern,'' he said, and urged all to be tolerant and vigilant at all polling stations, where the results in the constituencies would first be collated.

Story by Zakaria Alhassan