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General News of Saturday, 10 December 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

EU Mission lauds Ghana for free and fair elections

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has lauded Ghana for organising a free and fair election.

According to the group, Ghana’s 2016 Parliamentary and Presidential election was well-administered and transparent.

It said the closely contested polls to a large extent escaped the violence many had feared could erupt.

These were contained in a preliminary statement by the observers at a press conference held in Accra yesterday.

According to the Chief Observer of the mission, Tamas Meszeric, Ghana had passed the benchmark for credible, inclusive and transparent elections.

He said the Electoral Commission (EC) prepared well for the polls, despite facing a number of legal challenges.

“The EC has a track record of organising credible elections and is established as an independent body to the constitution.”

It, therefore, urged the two leading political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to be calm and allow the EC to declare the winner of the polls

Challenges

The EU mission further stated that there was misuse of incumbency, including unequal access to the state media, and unaccountable campaign financing during the campaigning period.

Furthermore, he said, there was misuse of resources and infrastructure of the presidency.

The group, therefore, called on the state media to provide fair and balance coverage for all election contestants and also emphasised on the need to increase confidence in institutions so as to reduce tension during elections.

Low women participation

For his part, the Head of the EU parliamentary delegation, Mr Edward Kukan, urged all stakeholders to play their respective roles to benefit Ghanaians and for the future prosperity of the country.

He observed the low patronage of women in the electoral processes, saying, “We believe that future would be better served by greater participation of women in the highest levels of Ghana’s political life. From a big field of presidential and parliamentary candidates, we saw few women, which is a symptom of culture and systemic impediment and exclusion”

Observers

The EU EOM deployed 24 long-term observers to all the regions on November 6,2016. Their activities were complemented by 32 short-term observers deployed on December 4, 2016.

They were joined by 16 observers from EU and EU partner embassies in Ghana and a delegation of six members of the European parliament.