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29.04.2009 NPP News

Elections of NPP Presidential Candidate was inconclusive – CODEO

By gna
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Accra, April 29, GNA – The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) on Wednesday described the election of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential Candidate in December 2007 as inconclusive and scolds

the Electoral Commission (EC) for legitimizing it.
“It was quite unacceptable for the EC to declare a winner in an inconclusive election, which was fragrant violation of the party's own Constitution in spite of its avow for due process,” Mr John Larvie, CODEO lead Observer stated in Accra.

Mr Larvie stated during an interaction between the EC and Domestic Election Observers organised by the KAB Governance Consult in Accra, which was attended by Christian Council, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and other civil society groups.

At the close of over 16-hours of voting and counting, Nana Akufo-Addo obtained 1,096 of the total 2,285 valid votes cast, representing about 47.97 per cent; Mr Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen polled 738 votes representing about 32.30 per cent while the Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama placed third with 146 votes representing about 6.39 per cent. Eight votes were rejected.

Article 12 (7) of the NPP Constitution, on the Election of the Presidential Candidate states: "Where there is only one contestant for nominations as the Party's presidential candidate, the National Congress shall acclaim his nomination as the party's Presidential Candidate.

"Where there is more than one contestant, each delegate will cast his or her vote by secret ballot for one of the contestants. Where a contestant obtains more than fifty percent (50%) of the votes cast, he or she shall be the party's Presidential Candidate.

"Where, however, no contestant obtains more than 50% of the votes cast, there shall be a run-off between the first two contestants and the contestant with a simple majority shall be the party's Presidential Candidate. In the event of a tie between the two contestants, the run off will continue until one contestant obtains a simple majority."

Mr Larvie said under the circumstance the EC should have ordered the party to organise a run-off among the two leading candidates; “I don't think the EC operate different laws for national elections and another for the political parties”.

In response to the CODEO accusation, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman explained that, “how parties select their Presidential Candidate is not the business of EC, in fact we are not required by law to be there.

“The legal requirement is on how they select national and regional leaders, whatever means a party adopt to select its Presidential Candidate is their business, but hope they do it in accordance with the Constitution they have lodged with the Commission,” Dr Afari-Gyan stated.

Other issues CODEO identified as infractions during Election 2008 were, replacement of lost identification card, lack of inadequate public education, failure to sanction law breakers, shortages of some electoral materials at some polling stations and late state of polls.

Professor Miranda Greenstreet who read the CODEO report urged the National Media Commission and the Ghana Journalists Association to collaborate to re-orient journalists to be circumspect.

“The way media practitioners chunked out information – sensational information into the public created an unnecessary tense environment,” stressing that media should help bring national cohesion.

She however, commended the EC for adhering to best international electoral practices in spite of the challenges, “the comportment of EC Commission members before, during and after the elections is commendable.”

On behalf of the Christian Council, Dr Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the council suggested that in view of the challenges the nation faced during the limited registration exercise the EC should conduct annual registration.

The Council also reiterated calls for change of the electoral timetable, “election day should be on specific day and month to avoid conflict with religious bodies.”

Dr. Afari-Gyan said December 7th as Election day was forced on the Commission by the Constitution, but wondered why Parliament had not yet amended the date to bring it forward.

“It will take not more than two months to change the law, as the law stands the Presidential Election can be conducted as early as September, fortunately the provision of Parliamentary election is not entrenched and can be changed.

“Only the Presidential Election provisions are entrenched but there is room for it to be conducted as early as September, I don't understand why they have not done it,” Dr Afari-Gyan stated.

GNA

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