Politics of Sunday, 1 June 2014
Source: Graphic Online
The Electoral Commission (EC) is to convene an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting before the commencement of this month’s limited voters registration exercise.
The general secretaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Conventions People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) have, in a proposal sent to the EC, requested an emergency meeting to outline modalities for the June 20-29, 2014 exercise.
The People’s National Congress (PNC) and the Danquah Institute (DI) have also asked the EC to suspend its planned registration until certain key concerns were addressed.
The Danquah Institute, last Thursday, cited incidents of double registration as one of the key reasons which necessitated the Election Petition case and, therefore, advised the commission to conduct an audit of the voters register before adding new names. The PNC wants the EC to clear the voters register of doubly registered names before embarking on the limited registration.
The PNC further issued a two-week ultimatum to the EC to audit the voters register, as well as organise a meeting with all political parties before the exercise could be conducted. They further threatened to take legal action against the Commission if their demands were not met.
But the acting Director of Public Affairs of the EC, Mr. Christian Owusu Parry, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Saturday, said the IPAC meeting might address all the issues and hopefully reach a consensus with the parties before the beginning of the exercise.
He would not disclose the date the IPAC meeting would be held, but pointed out that it would be communicated to the political parties in due course.
According to Mr. Parry, the EC attaches a lot of respect to the opinion of stakeholders, particularly when the commission has officially received a proposal to that effect.
On double registration, the director of Public Affairs said so far as the commission was concerned, when it discovered double registration in its data, those names were removed before the final register was printed.
He said when the political parties met under the umbrella of the IPAC, the issue as to whether to suspend or continue the limited registration would be made clear.
He said the EC had its own arrangements, and until it decided otherwise, the revision of the register is still scheduled for June 20.
The IPAC, which comprises all registered political parties and the EC, meets regularly to discuss electoral issues with the commission in order to reach consensus on a broad range of electoral issues.
Regarding the procedures for registration, Mr. Owusu Parry indicated that nothing had changed.
He added that the parties would be made to present their agents at the various registration centres, “so that they can observe the procedure”.
The opening of the voters register is to allow Ghanaians who turned 18 since the 2012 general elections and adults who could not register in previous registration exercises to register.