The Electoral Commission (EC) has served notice it is ready to hold the 2016 general elections on December 7, despite initial plans to bring it a month forward.
Parliament on Thursday rejected a proposal to change the voting date from the traditional December 7 to November 7. After a vote on the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016, 125 members voted ‘Yes’ in favour of the date change while 95 voted ‘No’ to reject the date change.
A total of 184 ‘Yes’ votes were required to ensure that the November 7 date amendment becomes a reality.
The director of communications of the Electoral Management Body Eric Dzakpasu said maintaining the date does not upset their plans.
“Despite the demonstration of our preparedness to deliver a credible and world class elections on the proposed November 7 date, Parliament in its wisdom has decided not to pass the Amendment.
“The outcome of the voting therefore sets December 7 2016 as the day for our presidential and parliamentary elections.
“We are grateful to the Speaker of Parliament, the Attorney General and all the members of parliament who participated in the debate and voting.
“As the institution mandated to run elections in Ghana, we have been ready for the November 7 elections if the Amendment Bill had been approved by Parliament.
“The change of election date to December 7 will therefore not affect our commitment to deliver a free, fair, transparent and credible elections this year,” Dzakpasu said in a statement.
Meanwhile, we wish to use this opportunity to once again urge to all Ghanaians to take advantage of the exhibition exercise currently ongoing in all the 29,000 polling stations across the country to check the correctness of their details on the Voters’ Register and get their fingerprints verified to vote on December 7.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the stance of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a stab in the back of Ghanaians.
Speaking on Starr Today after the votes, the campaign coordinator of the ruling NDC, Kofi Adams, said “we can’t trust the NPP. They led Ghanaians into believing that they wanted this so much… now they are running away and want to put the blame on the Electoral Commission.”
Adams, who is the national organiser of the NDC, noted he is “very highly disappointed and I’m happy this debate was not done in secrecy, but before all Ghanaians. The NPP has proven its anti-Ghana behaviour. For them it is about them and not what the people of this country want.”
“We have seen the true nature of the NPP. We are more than convinced we are winning the elections and because we are winning, the issue of transition is not a problem,” Mr. Adams told host Bernard Nasara Saibu.
The main reason for the date change was to avoid the hiccups which characterized the transition process ahead of the swearing in ceremony on January 7.