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General News of Monday, 7 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

EC to ballot for presidential candidates on November 10

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that it will ballot for presidential candidates for the December elections on Thursday November 10, 2016.

This follows the Supreme Court ruling that ordered them to extend the period for the receipt of nomination to the close of Tuesday, November 8, to enable disqualified presidential hopefuls to correct errors on their nomination forms.

According to the Electoral Commission, the Supreme Court specifically asked them to conduct the balloting on Thursday, after the final list of candidates is declared on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

The Commission, which has welcomed the verdict of the Supreme Court in their case against Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, Flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party, (PPP), has already written to all the affected presidential hopefuls, pointing out their errors to them, and reminding them of the need for them to correct same in view of the court ruling.

Already, the affected parties are pessimistic about whether they would be able to meet the extension period which they say is too short. Barring any last minute changes, there will only be four candidates on the ballot paper, representing the NPP, NDC, CPP and an Independent Candidate.

Below is the EC’s full response to the Supreme Court verdict

EC WELCOMES SUPREME COURT VERDICT

The Commission has received a certified copy of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of the Republic vrs. High Court (Commercial Division) Ex-Parte Electoral Commission (Papa Kwesi Nduom, Interested Party). Upon carefully studying the judgment, the Commission is glad to note as follows:

1. That the Apex Court agreed with the Commission that the High Court committed an error of law apparent on the face of the record by holding that the Commission did not fix a nomination period. The Supreme Court indeed confirmed that there was a nomination period.

2. The Supreme Court also agreed with the Commission that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction when it ordered the Commission to allow Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom to alter or amend his nomination papers. The court therefore quashed the High Court’s order in that respect.

Following the above, the Apex Court ordered that: 1. The nomination period which closed on 30th September, 2016 be extended for a further period of 2-days from Monday November 7 to Tuesday November 8, 2016.

2. That the Commission should invite Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, and all the disqualified presidential candidates who were able to submit their papers within the earlier nomination period, for a hearing within the extended nomination period specified above.

3. The Court further ordered that the Commission should in appropriate cases afford the candidates the opportunity to comply with Regulation 9 (2) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94). For the avoidance of doubt, the Regulation 9(2) of the law provides that: “The returning officer shall inform a candidate that the candidate’s nomination is invalid where:

a. The particulars of a candidate or the persons subscribing to the nomination paper are not as required by law; or

b. The nomination paper is not subscribed to as required by law, and shall give the candidate an opportunity to make amendment or any alteration necessary within the stipulated nomination period.”

4. The Court further ordered that the Commission declare the candidates so nominated to contest the 2016 elections by close of Wednesday November 9, 2016.

5. The Court also ordered that the Commission conduct the balloting of presidential candidates by Thursday November 10, 2016.

6. The Supreme Court also ordered a stay of proceedings pending in the various High Courts against the Commission in respect of the same issue to enable the Commission to carry out its constitutional obligations. In line with the Court’s directives, all the 12 persons whose nomination forms were invalidated for failing to meet the legal requirements are hereby:

i. Invited to come to the Commission’s Head Quarters for a hearing within the extended nomination period specified above.

ii. They have the opportunity to correct the errors on their nomination forms and submit same to the Commission within the extended nomination period ending at 5:00pm on November 8, 2016.

iii. All corrected pages must be submitted in quadruplicate to the Commission.

The Commission would like to sincerely thank their Lordships for determining the case speedily. We would like to further express our utmost appreciation to the Court for bringing finality to the issue and therefore saving the electoral calendar. Thank you.

Signed:

Eric Kofi Dzakpasu

Head of Communications