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Politics of Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Source: GNA

NPP urges EC to suspend voter registration

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to suspend the voter registration exercise across the country until the process is properly planned in consultation with stakeholders.

The party in a statement issued in Accra on Monday, and signed by its General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, reminded the Commission of its duty to work in the best interest of all Ghanaians and to avoid doing things that might create unnecessary tension in the country.

The statement said the process by the EC contravened the dictates of the Public Elections Regulation 2012 C.I.72 that spells out how eligible voters are to be registered.

It said it was regrettable that the EC “did not deem it fit to consult other stakeholders on the intended exercise”, and that despite calls for an IPAC Meeting, “this has not taken place and the Commission has just sprung the exercise on Ghanaians, without prior notice”.

The party said the modalities for the exercise had not been laid out, and the details as to how to challenge ineligible registrants and raise objection to names put on the register have not been spelt out.

It said the EC had also not determined how political parties can monitor the exercise and certify details of the registration.

The statement said under Regulation 1. (1) of the Public Elections Regulation 2012 (C.I. 72), a Person is entitled to have his/her name included in the register of Voters of an Electoral Area if that person is: a) a citizen of Ghana; b) 18 years old and above; c) of a sound mind; d) resident or ordinarily resident in an Electoral Area; e) not prohibited by any law in force from registering as a voter.

It said registration must, therefore, be done on Electoral Area basis. That way, potential voters will find it easier to register while it would also be easier to determine the number of persons registered in every electoral area.

The party said it cannot be understood why the Commission continues to act against the laws governing its conduct of electoral affairs.

Under Regulation 2 (3) of C.I. 72, “the Commission shall, at least 14 days before the first day of the national registration of voters, inform Political Parties and the general public by publication in the Gazette, Radio, Television, or any other medium of mass communication, of a place it designates as a registration centre.

Regulation 8 (1) of C.I. 72 states that “the Commission shall make available to the interested persons or parties at the District Office, the names of persons it proposes to appoint as Registration Supervisors, Registration Officers and Registration Assistants for the Centres, not later than 14 days before they are appointed.

“The Commission has also not taken the appropriate steps under this Regulation.

“Under Regulation 10 (3) of C.I. 72, “the names of Agents of Registered Political Parties shall be communicated to the Commission not later than 7 days before the start of the registration.” Political Parties have not submitted names of Agents because the Commission has kept everybody in the dark and is determined to do things its own way, regardless of what the Regulations spell out.

“Sight must also not be lost on the various calls on the Commission to open a new Voters Register to replace the over-bloated and unreliable Register that is currently in place. Conducting the intended registration and, later on, creating a new Register will result in a complete waste of scarce financial resources,” the statement said.

“It is obvious that the Commission is refusing to learn from its mistakes and wants to continue acting against the law. A clear example is the cancellation of the District Level Elections, as ordered by the Court, following its disregard of the law.

“In the circumstances, the New Patriotic Party calls on the Electoral Commission to suspend the intended exercise and properly plan any new registration in consultation with its Stakeholders. To that end, we call on the Commission to convene an IPAC Meeting”, the party said.

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