Supreme Court decision ends business as usual model in managing elections – IDEG
The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to stop the March 3, 2015 District Level Elections had effectively put to an end the business as usual model of managing local and national elections in the country.
A statement issued in Accra by Dr. Emmanuel O. Akwetey, Executive Director IDEG and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the recurring practice of submitting Constitutional Instruments (CIs) to Parliament, after preparations for forthcoming elections were in progress is now illegal.
It said the new ruling required that the Electoral Commission (EC) should be more efficient in formulating CIs in time for enactment and thereafter proceed to prepare for elections, adding that an ample time was needed for both.
The statement said the EC’s compliance with the ruling would prevent the recurrence of the financial loss that had attended the postponement of the March 3, 2015 District Level Elections and also improve the efficiency of its administrative arrangements both before and during elections.
The ruling would also raise serious questions about the legitimacy of incumbent Assemblies whose tenure expires on the 14thMarch, 2015 when there is no clarity on when the next Assembly will be duly elected and constituted. It added.
It further said this might create a legitimacy gap and raise the possibility that the local government would operate without the oversight of the Local Assemblies and added that if immediate steps were not taken to effectively address the situation within the law, a serious crisis in local government could occur.
To avert the crisis in the local government, IDEG and CFI, said the Executive and Parliament should duly and in the national interest consider extending the tenure of existing Assemblies until the next District Level Elections are held. This would ensure the legitimacy and continuous operation of the Assemblies. It noted.
It stressed that the EC should work expeditiously with Parliament to enact an appropriate CI to govern the next District Level Elections, government and the EC should as soon as possible agree and announce a new date for the next District Level Elections which should be held in the shortest possible time.
Thus all the resources required to strengthen the EC to enable it to effectively conduct the next District Level Elections and to also manage its leadership transition while it prepares well for the 2016 elections should be effectively mobilised and disbursed expeditiously. The statement said.
It added that all stakeholders – Government, Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, and others should maintain a high level of vigilance to ensure that the EC is operationally effective, professional and impartial in the delivery of its core mandate.