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General News of Thursday, 18 August 2016


Ghanaians may choose from more than 30 presidential candidates - EC

With some four months to go to the polls, voters are likely to make a choice of a president from more than 30 candidates on the presidential ballot paper when they go to the polling center to vote.

This is because the Electoral Commission (EC) is set to grant approval to 11 more political parties to add to the already 25 to contest the December 7th election.

Deputy Commissioner of the EC, Amadu Sule explained that there is no limit to the number of political parties they can license.

“Two of the parties were asking me just the other day, ‘Please you have given us the provisional certificate when are you we getting the final one?’ When we look in our legal framework…in the Constitution, there is nothing in the law saying this is the cut-off…so it is open ended,” he said.

He joked about the possibility of having to choose between a portrait or landscape design on the presidential ballot sheet.

But he said when the time comes that decision will be taken by the Commission.
Mr. Sule however, did not mention the names of the parties awaiting final certification and what will go into deciding their fate.

Head of Communications at the Commission, Eric Dzakpasu explained that the new parties are many and varied with a lot of acronyms.

Speaking to Francis Abban on The Pulse program Wednesday, he confirmed, “there is a tall list of parties there but we need to investigate them before issuing them with the final certificate.”

He said day in and day out other parties come and apply to be registered and they have to be given a provisional certificate while the Commission continues with investigations before they are finally issued with certificates.

“Independent candidates don’t have to ask for any licenses to operate, they only have to satisfy the condition for the nomination,” he said.

He observed that two parties may be having the same acronym but they may not be the same political party.

According to him, when a party applies to contest it is given provisional certificates within seven days.

“After that within 30 days, the EC should finish gazetting their names and issuing them with the final certificate," he said.

According to Mr. Dzapasu, the highest number of presidential candidate the Commission has had so far was in the 2012 elections when there were six political parties contesting with two independent candidates.

The number of contestants will depend on how the ballot will be designed he said.