DR PAA KWESI NDUOM, parliamentary candidate of the opposition Convention People's Party (CPP) has received a major bolster in his attempt to wrestle the KEEA seat in the Central Region from the NDC.
The Energy Minister, who has been hauled before the CPP Disciplinary Committee for publicly supporting President Kufuor's candidature against his party's official candidate, Mr George Aggudey is now the bi-partisan candidate of both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and his CPP party, this paper has gathered.
Though a formal announcement to this effect is yet to be made, sources say a deal that allowed the elected NPP parliamentary candidate for the constituency, Nana Ato Arthur, to step down for Nduom has been struck.
The deal, government insiders say, has the blessing of President Kufuor, who is reported to have taken time off his recent visit to the region on a labour confab to tell party executives of his desire to see Nduom contest on the ticket on both CPP/NPP parties for the KEEA seat.
Regional party officers say Kufuor made it clear to them that Nduom was the son in whom he was well pleased.
But though information suggests that Nduom has received the nod of the ruling party and its regional branches, an announcement to thateffect is expected to be out by the weekend.
Nduom is billed to contest the seat against Madam Veronica Nelson, a member of his family, who is also expected to win the main opposition NDC's primaries this Sunday.
Confirming that the preferred choice of the government and the NPP party in the region to run for the KEEA seat on was Nduom, Central Regional Minister Isaac Edumadze, told this paper Tuesday that plans and talks were far advance for the NPP candidate to pull out in favour of Nduom.
He however said the discussions were initiated at the local party level and was not a result of any directive from President Kufuor.
He said the belief among party members in the region was that once the NDC intends to pick a good candidate, it behoves the NPP to carefully weigh that and put up a formidable candidate.
He however indicated that negotiations were far advanced and that talks were still going on to resolve certain pertinent issues over the matter, noting that the last time the two parties went their separate ways by both competing for the KEEA seat, the NDC won. It is therefore necessary for us to consolidate and ensure that if the NPP were to lose that seat, it would lose it to a better candidate; someone whom we can work with, he said.
“The last time we went our separate ways and the NDC won. Now we know that it is better, if we are going to lose, to lose to a better candidate. And it is more acceptable to lose to the CPP than the NDC,” he said.
Reached for his comment, Nduom said he was aware of talks between the two parties aimed at securing the blessing of the NPP for him to contest the 2004 elections.
“I am aware that talks have been going on - because l am part of it - to find ways for us to accommodate each other and to see how l will be supported by the NPP” he tersely said.
Efforts to reach NPP National Chairman, Alhaji Harona Esseku, and General Secretary Dan Botwe on the issue failed.