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13.12.2004 General News

Elections were free, fair and credible - AAEA

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Accra, Dec. 13, GNA - The Association of African Election Authority (AAEA) on Monday described Ghana's Presidential and Parliamentary Elections as a landmark victory for emerging electoral systems in Africa.

"The transparency of the whole electoral process not, withstanding the isolated irregularities, makes the Ghanaian electoral system a beacon of hope for democratic development on a Continent bedevilled with electoral disputes," Dr Abel Guobadia, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, stated in report issued in Accra.

Dr Guobadia, who led a 23 Member delegation of the AAEA Attachment and Peer Review Participants to observe Election 2004 in Ghana, said the elections were conducted in a calm and peaceful environment. He commended the Government, the various political parties and the Electoral Commission for a successful electoral process.

The AAEA is aimed at promoting and institutionalising the professional nature of African election authorities through regional exchanges and networking.

The members of the Observer Team were drawn from nine countries including: Burkina Faso; South Africa; Kenya; Uganda; Togo; The Gambia; Nigeria; Cote d'Ivoire and Lesotho.

Speaking on specific issues, Dr Guobadia said the legal framework governing the electoral process was found to be adequate in the promotion of the conduct of free and fair elections.

The Electoral body also adopted electoral mechanism that ensured credible voters register, effective education and sensitisation of all stakeholders with active support of the National Commission for Civic Education.

The recruitment and qualitative training of electoral officials; procurement and distribution of adequate electoral materials on time; and the preparation and engagement of the physically disabled in the electoral process including the open-ended accreditation of observers ensured transparency.

On Election Day activities, Dr Guobadia said the team noted with keen interest the punctuality of poll officials, party agents and security officers and exhibition of professionalism throughout the period.

He said the use of transparent ballot boxes, the counting of the ballot at each polling station in the presence of the Agents and any other persons, who wished to witness the counting and the announcing of the results immediately made it rigging proof.

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