The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has commended the Electoral Commission(EC) for accepting proposals to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections on November 7. The EC has given indication it will ask the Attorney General’s office to table a revision of Article 112 clause 4 and Article 63 clause 2a of the constitution, which talks about the election of parliamentarians upon the expiration of the tenure of office of MPs as well as the election of a new president respectively. A 10 member committee tasked by the EC to consider proposals for a review of the date for the general elections also in its report agreed to the November 7 date. A decision the committee maintained will equally allow transition in government especially if the need comes for a change in government.
The IEA had raised concerns over the limited time the current date of December 7 afforded for transition of power from the losing party to the winning one. At present, democratically elected governments have within four to six days (January 1st to January 6th) to hand over power and ensure a transition in office. But the IEA in its Ghana Political Parties Programme in 2007, later passed into law in 2012 as the Presidential (Transition) Act, and providing a legal framework for managing political transfer of power from an out-going democratically elected President to an incoming President called for a revision of the date. It argued.
“There were severe time constraints, since the transfers were forced to take place within the short period of six days, 1st January to 6th January for the 2001 transition, and an even shorter period of three days, 4th January, to 6th January, 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.” This petition had also been preceded by a workshop where a communiqué was issued to make a case for ample time to be allotted to “accommodate possible run-off elections and the resolution of any election related petitions.” The immediate past Chair of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan also referring to the work of the IEA indicated that, “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.” A statement issued and signed by the Director of IEA, Jean Mensah on the progress made by the EC said, “It is evident that The IEA has long advocated for 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 added, “The IEA is therefore gratified to note that the EC has adopted this worthy proposal. It is hoped that other IEA proposals would be adopted to strengthen Ghana’s electoral system and consolidate democracy.”
Source – Citifm