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General News of Thursday, 3 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

It’s impossible for gov’t to influence election results – Charlotte Osei

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, has discounted the possibility of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), or any other political party influencing the results of the upcoming elections.

Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama in 2015, says any political party with the intention of rigging the elections, would have a difficult time doing so, due to the stringent measures put in place by the commission.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC on Thursday [November 3], Charlotte Osei said, there is very little possibility of cheating in the December polls. She said, “it is impossible for the Electoral Commission to be influenced by government because our processes are so transparent and so inclusive that it is impossible for the Electoral Commission itself to even manipulate.

There are seven of us at the Commission, there is head office directors, regional directors. We are going to be working with about almost 146,000 staff on election day; and at the 29,000 polling stations and coalition centers, all candidates and parties have agents there.”

She added that “one election day, if you want to influence the process, you have to change your election sheet and change all the result sheets being held by all the candidates’ agents… So it is really impossible.”

“The way the Ghanaian system works, the process is so strong that it is difficult for persons to interfere with it,” she said.

‘Election will be transparent’

Charlotte Osei, who has been under pressure for some of the decisions taken by the Commission, including the disqualification of 13 presidential aspirants, insisted that, the upcoming elections will be transparent and credible, and the results will be the exact representation of the decision of Ghanaian voters.

“Ghana is set, the elections are going to be very transparent, inclusive and very credible, and there is a lot of integrity mechanism in our system to ensure that, what [the] people of Ghana put in the ballot box, is what the Electoral Commission is going to declare as the results,” she said.

‘Electronic transmission of results’

She told BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong that, the Commission is yet to draw out modalities for the transmission of votes to the national coalition centre in Accra electronically.

She further noted that, the EC will prioritize results recorded manually, since those are the traditional means of recording voting results. “The electronic transfer is just another level of results.

The primary mode of result transfer in Ghana remains the manual one,” she said. She concluded that, a second round of voting will be held on the 28th December, if any of the presidential candidates fail to meet the required 50 percent plus one votes.