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Oct 27, 2015

IEA commends EC for accepting Nov. 7 proposal for Ghana’s elections


The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for accepting its proposal for Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on November 7.

A statement signed by the Executive Director of the IEA, Dr Jean Mensa, said the proposal was born out of work undertaken by the IEA Ghana Political Parties Program in 2007 towards the preparation of a Presidential Transition Bill.

The bill, which was later passed into law in 2012 as the Presidential (Transition) Act, provides a legal framework for managing the political transfer of power from an outgoing democratically elected President to an incoming President.

The original bill, published in 2009, noted the challenges with the election calendar as provided by the Constitution and stated as follows, in describing the political transitions of 2001 and 2009.

“There were severe time constraints, since the transfers were forced to take place within the short period of six days, January 1 to January 6 for the 2001 transition, and an even shorter period of three days, January 4 to January 6, for the 2009 transition.”

It further stated: “The short lengths of the periods between the declaration of the results and the commencement of the transfer process in the two cases did not allow the losing party sufficient time to properly orient itself for the transfer.”

According to the IEA statement, earlier, following a two-day workshop organised by the IEA at the Continental Hotel at Atimpoku in the Eastern Region from 14th–16th March, 2008, a joint communiqué stated that the current four-week transition period should be extended to eight weeks by bringing forward Election Day to 7th November.

That, the statement noted, would accommodate possible run-off elections and the resolution of any election related petitions.

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana’s immediate past Chair of the EC, referred to the work of the IEA in a speech published by the Daily Graphic of Friday, January 23 2009 as: “Of course, changing the election date to secure a longer transition period should not forestall the need to pass such a transition bill as had been initiated by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) for purposes of securing a well-ordered transition period.”

Furthermore, the IEA Electoral Reforms Project made a case for changing the election timetable to November 7 when it noted in its report as follows: “Bringing the Election Day forward to November 7 will allow ample time for run-offs (which are expected to be conducted three weeks after the general election) and settlement of possible disputes after the election.”

The statement said it was evident that the IEA had long advocated the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in November to ensure ample time for proper handing over and transition in a manner that would ensure policy continuity and good governance.

It said the IEA was, therefore, gratified to note that the EC had adopted this worthy proposal and expressed the hope that other IEA proposals would be adopted to strengthen Ghana’s electoral system and consolidate democracy. – Daily Graphic