19.05.2005 Business & Finance

Ghana calls for Review of ADB Voting Process

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>From Gideon Sackitey, GNA Special Correspondent Abuja, Nigeria

Abuja, May 19, GNA - Ghana has called for a radical reform in the process of electing the President of the African Development Bank, saying the current mode of voting was time wasting, too expensive and generally takes away valuable time.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Abuja after the gruelling five rounds of voting that failed to see a new President emerge, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the Minister of Finance, said the principles should be changed to make room for a freer and agreeable system of getting the most qualified person to the top job. He urged his colleague finance ministers who constitute members of the bank's Board of Governors to look at the situation that permeates other development banks in Asia, South America, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said the African Development Bank is a pure corporate entity and should be governed as such, instead of the present situation that treats the bank as if it were a political party that has to go through primaries to find a suitable candidate. Asked what other process could be used, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the bank could up with something that is not so cumbersome and time consuming.

The election of the President of the ADB is governed by a strict rule adopted in 1997 and amended in 1998.

The Board of Directors determines the voting powers in the month preceding the election, while the Board of Directors designate two governors representing regional members and one governor from a non-regional country to act as Returning Officer for the election.

A candidate is deemed elected if he obtains 50.1 per cent of the votes of the regional members and 50 per cent of the non-regional member countries.

If no candidate obtains this double majority, another ballot shall be conducted without the participation of the candidate with the least votes.

If after five ballots, no candidate obtains the double majority, the Board of Governors may decide to proceed with the voting or adjourn the ballot.

In the event of adjournment, the Board of Governors may decide to designate the out-going President or a Vice President or any other person of its choice e to act as President for a term not exceeding 12 months.

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