IEA, political parties present proposals for electoral reforms

biometricThe Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the political parties with representation in Parliament have presented an 18-point proposal for electoral reforms to the Electoral Commission (EC).

The proposals, if fully implemented, will contribute to the fine-tuning of the country’s electoral system and ultimately result in transparent and acceptable elections.

However, it became known at the presentation that directors of the EC who were expected to receive the proposals were not present and had made alternative arrangements to receive the proposals behind closed doors today.

The 18-point proposals include provisions that the EC work with defined programmes and published timelines to ensure certainty in the implementation of the programmes.

They also recommended that there must be a fixed number of constituencies to be reviewed periodically in accordance with the law and in line with population movement.

According to the IEA and the political parties, there should be no review of constituency boundaries in an election year.

A researcher at the IEA, Dr Ransford Gyampo, who briefed the press on the proposals in Accra yesterday, said as part of the IEA’s commitment to deepen democracy in Ghana, the IEA//Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) had held two workshops to discuss the electoral system with a view to proposing reforms in the wake of the problems that emerged after the 2012 general election.

He said the proposals were, therefore, drawn based on the discussions with the political parties, civil society organisations and the media.

The proposals also mentioned that there should be transparency in the recruitment process of temporary electoral officials with minimum educational qualification.

Again, there should be a joint training programme for electoral officials, party agents and security personnel to ensure cooperation and collaboration on voting day.

The proposals also recommended that the EC should go to court to delete the names of unqualified persons on the voters register, as well as sanction election officials whose negligence, acts of omission or commission undermined the electoral process and the integrity of the commission.

He said the proposals also made it clear that Members of Parliament could not be limited to one district assembly, as is now the case.

Dr Gyampo said the proposals agreed with the provision in the regulations which stated that no verification no vote, saying it must be maintained and enforced.

He said the proposals also captured the fact that presidential elections should be held in November every year, so that if there was the need for a run-off or a challenge, it might be disposed of before the President was sworn in.

On e-voting, Dr Gyampo said the proposals concluded that although e-voting had some merits, it required some extensive study and preparatory work before its implementation and urged the EC to undertake a detailed study of e-voting for future implementation.

Mr Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC, said the proposals were a product of joint efforts by all the registered political parties and had their consensus across the board.

A former Chairman of the NPP, Mr  Peter Mac Manu, who represented the opposition parties, said even though political parties competed among themselves for votes, the fact that they had come together to draw the proposals clearly showed that the parties were not enemies.

Source: Daily Graphic

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