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18.10.2004 Politics

No foreign organisation has applied to observe elections - EC

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Accra, Oct. 18, GNA - The Electoral Commission (EC) said on Monday that no foreign organisation has so far applied for accreditation to observe Election 2004.

It is, however, expected that as the Election Day draws near some foreign organisations would come forward for accreditation, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Commission, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

Seven foreign organisations, comprising the Commonwealth, European Union, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations, UNDP and Electa observed the 1996 and 2000 elections.

Dr Afari-Gyan said some local organisations had applied for accreditation and were currently engaged in recruiting and training of personnel. He said other interested organisations could still apply if they could train their personnel.

He said as a policy, election observers signed an undertaking that they would abide by the laws, regulations and code of conduct governing the elections.

"No observer shall be allowed access to any polling station or constituency centre unless he or she is wearing the official identification issued by the Commission.

"An observer shall not offer advice, give direction to, or in any way interfere with an election official in the performance of his or her election duties."

Dr Afari-Gyan said the presence of competent observers at elections was generally healthy in assessing the level of acceptability of results.

He said in 2000 two local groups, Ghanalert and the Network of Domestic Election Observers (NEDEO) obtained observer status for the elections.

NEDEO is a grouping of religious bodies, the Ghana Journalists Association, National Union of Ghana Students, Trades Union Congress, the Ghana Legal Literacy and Resource Foundation and the Ghana Civic Coalition.

He said a number of embassies including the British and Canadian High Commissions, Danish, French, Italian, Japanese, Malian, The Netherlands, US, Spanish and Swiss embassies observed the 2000 elections.

Other organisations accredited were the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA), Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES).

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