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General News of Saturday, 15 December 2012

Source: myjoyonline

IEA relegates PNC in 2016 Presidential Debate; Mornah angry

The 2016 Presidential Debate will only involve the two leading political parties - the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), debate organisers, the Institute of Economic Affairs have said.

The Executive Director of the Institute, Mrs Jeane Mensah, disclosed this in an interview with Joy News’ Beatrice Adu.

The Institute had a policy of allowing only parties with representation in Parliament to take part in the debate but according to Mrs Mensah the Institute has undertaken a thorough review after the 2012 elections and has resolved that parties with over five per cent of the votes in the 2012 election will be allowed to take part in the debates prior to the next presidential election.

The NDC had 50.70 per cent of the votes whilst the NPP obtained 47.74 per cent of the votes making the two parties the ones to gain qualification to the next presidential debates.

The PNC won only one seat in Parliament, secured only 24,617 in the popular vote representing 0.22 per cent and thus falls short of the new minimum requirement of five per cent.

Under the old arrangement the PNC would have qualified to take part in the 2016 presidential debate but ithas been ruled out by the new requirement.

Jeane Mensah later told Joy News Editor Samson Lardy Ayenini that the IEA's decision was in sync with the expectation of Ghanaians.

She said it had become increasingly obvious that Ghanaians would love to see the debate become a bit more competitive than has been the case in previous debates.

She however added that separate opportunities shall be given to minority parties which failed to garner the five per cent votes to have their own encounters and debates.

But the new IEA position appears to have ruffled the nerves of the PNC.

Its General Secretary Bernard Mornah in an interview with Joy News described the position of the IEA as unfortunate and “arrogant.”

He said the IEA cannot take such a unilateral decision without consulting the political parties which collectively decided that the debate will be contested by parties with representation in Parliament.

He found it rather awkward that the parties will only hear this new arrangement on radio without any formal notification.

Bernard Mornah said the “greatest mistake” the PNC committed is to join the IEA platform.