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General News of Thursday, 19 February 2009

Source: Commonwealth News and Information Service (London)

Ghana's Maturing Democracy is Good Reference

The Commonwealth Observer Group that was present at Ghana's 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections has issued its Final Report

Ghana's maturing democracy has become a good reference point for the African continent and the Commonwealth as a whole, the Commonwealth Observer Group concluded.

In its final report on the elections held on 7 December 2008 - with a run-off for the presidential election on 28 December - the Group stated: "These are positive developments and all point to the consolidation of Ghana's democracy."

One area of concern for the Observer Group that posed challenges to these elections was due to problems encountered with the limited voter registration exercise, which resulted in an inflated voters' register.

"The Group hopes that lessons learnt from these experiences will inform preparations for future elections," they wrote.

Overall the Commonwealth Observer Group felt these elections were conducted in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: "The Commonwealth Observer Group found that the Electoral Commission of Ghana managed the process in a professional and inclusive manner. The credible election has helped to further consolidate Ghana's democracy."

The Report was completed and signed by all members of the Commonwealth Observer Group prior to their departure from Ghana. It was presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General by the Chair of the Group, Baroness Valerie Amos.

Before being made public, the Report was distributed to the Government of Ghana, political leaders, the Electoral Commission and all other Commonwealth governments.