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09.12.2004 General News

Polling was smooth - CODEO

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Accra, Dec. 9, GNA - Despite some minor incidents, polling in the December 7 elections was generally smooth across all parts of the country, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) said on Thursday.

In a preliminary report on the presidential and parliamentary election, CODEO said reports from its observers indicated that the polls were generally peaceful, free, fair, and transparent.

"The entire voting process is a major achievement of which Ghanaians should be proud. The peaceful conduct of the elections once again demonstrates the ability of our established institutions to function properly in a democracy," Professor Miranda Greeenstreet, Co-Chair of CODEO told a press conference in Accra.

The Coalition praised the impressive high turnout and the comportment of voters, saying it was a demonstration of voter and civic awareness that was necessary in a democracy.

However, it said, the voting process could have been speeded up if voter education on the process had been stepped up to prevented the high incidence of rejected ballots.

On the preparedness of the Electoral Commission, CODEO said the supply of voting materials to the more than 21,000 polling stations across the country had again proved a challenging task to the EC, culminating in the late arrival of materials for some polling stations. "It is worth noting, however, that such incidents were relatively isolated and did not affect the smooth conduct of the polls," CODEO said. It said reports indicated adequate supplies of electoral materials at polling stations.

While commending security personnel for their professional conduct, CODEO said reports from observers showed that some polling stations did not have security personnel at the start of the polls, a situation later resolved by the security agencies.

On violence, CODEO said although there were reports of violence and threat to electoral officials as well as violent behaviour by some party supporters these did not affect voting.

The Coalition commended the political parties, their supporters and Ghanaians for the mature manner in which they conducted themselves during the polls and urged all to help to sustain the peace.

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