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General News of Thursday, 27 October 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2016 elections will be credible , transparent - EC Chair assures

The Electoral Commission has assured Ghanaians of transparent and credible elections in December.

Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, is convinced reforms and mechanisms introduced in the electoral system, with support from stakeholders, will give citizens a well-conducted poll.

She told the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs results of the results of the elections will be accepted by all, despite suspicions over the credibility of the voter’s register.

“With all that we have implemented, we believe that this year's elections are going to be more credible, more transparent and more inclusive," she said.

She was speaking to traditional rulers of the Asanteman Traditional Council, Wednesday.

Charlotte Osei said existing inclusion mechanisms will not be done away with, but would be improved to ensure an event-free election.

"For instance, the political parties would be at the printing houses when the ballots are being printed. They would know when the ballots are being transferred by the security agencies," she explained.

Mrs. Osei, says the Commission has worked with the Judiciary, political parties and other stakeholders to address concerns about the electoral roll.

She cites implementation of 27 out of 29 recommendations of the Commission’s Reform Committee as proof of commitment towards transparent presidential and parliamentary elections.

She said there will be at least two Biometric Verification Machines at each polling station to prevent delays in the voting process as a result of a breakdown of the machines.

"As soon as we switch to the second one, there is a back-up we will bring from the constituency level to support that Polling Station," she said.

Mrs. Osei also said the increase the number of polling stations from 26,200 to 29,000 is aimed at reducing congestion at voting centers.

"We have also increased the number of Polling Stations to 29,000. The reason being that; we want fewer people on the register of every Polling Station, so there's less pressure on the machines and there's less pressure on personnel," she said.

The EC Chair told the Chiefs the Commission wants to avoid a repeat of the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, hence every effort is being made to ensure transparent and all-inclusive process.

“The Electoral Commission is doing our very best to make sure this election are peaceful, they are credible; they are transparent and the results are accepted by all the parties,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Osei indicates all is set for the elections as the Commission begins printing of parliamentary ballots on Thursday.

She says about 98 percent of materials needed for the elections have been dispatched to regional offices.