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Uncertainties in Ghana’s electoral process affecting political parties plans – Minority

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The Minority Caucus in Parliament on Wednesday said political parties, the voting public and Members of Parliament have still not been informed of the dates for the opening and closing of nominations for presidential and parliamentary candidates and other programmes of the Electoral Commission like training of agents for the general elections.

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Minority Leader, who was addressing a press conference on the position of the creation of new constituencies and connected matters, said the Electoral Commission (EC) has also not informed the public on the date it would come out with a finalized certified register.

He said this uncertainty was affecting planning for the elections by all stakeholders, adding that the manner in which the EC had handled the submission of Constitutional Instruments (C.I.) to Parliament dragging it to sit for several extra weeks when the elections were so close must be addressed to enable all stakeholders to prepare adequately for elections.

Mr Mensah Bonsu said the new Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 78), for the creation of 45 new constituencies, when it is laid before the House, would mature on October 2, 2012, if Parliament from now on should sit five days in a week.

He said this means that political parties, which have been enjoined by Article 55(4) to be democratic in their internal organisations,  would have barely two months to prepare towards the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Minority Leader questioned if two months would provide sufficient time for political parties to constitute constituency executives for the new 45 constituencies and therefore allow space and time for such executives to provide notice, receive applications, screen prospective candidates and hold primaries to elect parliamentary candidates in the new constituencies.

He said: “The C.I. requires 21 sitting days to mature and until then there are no new constituencies. The EC knows that as we speak today there are no new constituencies in place, yet the EC went ahead and supervised the conduct of the primaries by the ruling party in these non-existent constituencies.”

Mr Mensah Bonsu said the Constitution provides that when a C.I. is laid in Parliament it should be published in the Gazette on the day when it is laid before Parliament.

He noted that the new C.I.77, which appeared in Parliament on Monday, ought to have been seen as a new document and as such ought to have been laid anew in Parliament otherwise Parliament could not consider it.

This is what the minority group demanded on Monday, September 2012 which was ignored, he said.

Mr Mensah Bonsu said the New Patriotic Party was not against the creation of the additional constituencies but that  the process and timing was wrong.

On the provisional register of voters and its exhibition, Mr Mensah Bonsu said the C.I. on Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012 states under Regulation 21 that the EC shall not later than three months from the end of the registration period compile for each polling station a provisional register of voters stating the name, age, sex, residential address and showing the photograph of each person whose application for registration at that polling station was accepted.

He said regrettably, almost six months from the end of the registration period and three months before the general elections, the parties have not been provided with the provisional register, adding that the EC was not only dislocating the electoral calendar but was also in flagrant breach of the provisions of public elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012.

Source: GNA

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