EC’s behavior vindicates opposition to Nov. 7 date – Minority leader

EC’s behavior vindicates opposition to Nov. 7 date – Minority leader

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The Minority leader says the Electoral Commission’s behavior in the face of ongoing disqualification litigation vindicates their position that it would not have been ready for proposed November 7 date.

Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has expressed worry that December 7 date would suffer if sanity is not brought to bear on the Commission.

“The disqualification of some presidential candidates and the subsequent reversal of the decision by the High Court and the appeal by the Commission makes it difficult to predict what may or may not happen on December 7, 2016,” he said.

The Minority leader made these remarks when he addressed the final sitting of Parliament on Thursday.

The preparation of Ghana’s electoral body for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections has dominated discourse in the country since the beginning of the year.

The debate peaked when a Legislative Instrument (L.I), which was to move the general election from December 7 to November 7, was laid before Parliament.

Whereas the Majority in Ghana’s legislature argued for a change of date to allow for a smooth transition, the Minority held a contrary view.

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MP) told the House in July that the EC was not prepared for a November 7 election date because its budget had then not been released.

“On the occasion that we have met the EC, it has been agreed the Ministry of Finance is in default in releasing the money,” Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu had said in July.

Majority leader, Alban Bagbin said funds would not be a problem for the Commission because the Finance Ministry promised to release the funds on a need basis.

Per Article 104 clause 4 of the Constitution and Standing Order 110 of Parliament, the amendment bill was subjected to a secret ballot.

The bill required 184 votes for the change to be effected but in the end, 125 legislators voted in favor of the change, falling short of the required number.

The NPP was blamed by sections of Ghanaians and some members of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the rejection of the date.

Three months down the lane, the EC is embroiled in a litany of litigations over its October 10 decision to reject the nomination of some 13 presidential candidates for improperly filing their forms contrary to C.I. 94, the law governing the general elections.

Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the behavior of the EC was one of the reasons the NPP opposed the November 7 date.

“In the meantime, the nation can now tell whether or not the Electoral Commission would have been ready to conduct the election on November 7, 2016, as they indicated they were ready to do,” he said.

A staffer at the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Mensah Abrampah, said they are worried the general election might not come on in December.

“The general election is not like the local government elections for it to be postponed,” he said, adding if the December 7 date is affected there would be a constitutional crisis.

But EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei told Akwasi Sarpong, host of BBC Focus on Africa Thursday that the Commission would not allow the lawsuits to subvert the electoral process.

“The Supreme Court is very aware of the timelines. In fact, we’ve told the Supreme Court what the timelines are, we’ve also even told the court how much time we need with the printers to print the presidential ballot papers,” she said.

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brakopowers | Email: Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com

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