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02.09.2004 General News

EC sets out qualification criteria for Election 2004

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Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - The Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday outlined the qualification for both presidential and parliamentary candidates for Elections 2004, saying workers of several government offices and chiefs were barred by law from contesting while in office.

Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations, 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 from his post before filing nominations.

They include the Police Service, Prison Service, Armed Forces, Judicial Service, Legal Services, Civil Service, Audit Service, Parliamentary Service, and Statistical Service.

The rest are the Ghana National Fire Service; Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, Immigration Service, International Revenue Service and Chiefs.

He said any person, who had been declared bankrupt, diagnosed to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal or lunatic was also disqualified from contesting either the presidential or parliamentary slot.

Mr Sarfo-Kantanka said the electoral laws also forbade people, who had been convicted for treason or for any offence involving the security of the state, fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude from contesting. People, who have also been convicted for an offence punishable by death or by a sentence of not less than 10 years' imprisonment or an offence connected with public elections, are disqualified.

He reminded aspiring candidates of the constitutional residency clause, which states that candidates should be resident in the constituency for which he or she is 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 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."