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General News of Saturday, 22 August 2015

Source: citifmonline

New voters register would be expensive – Portuphy

The Chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Portuphy, has said that it will be expensive to heed to calls for a new voters register by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He argued that the country at this point did not need a new voters register, citing economic issues as an important factor for this.

“We must always be thinking about the economy in terms of what it takes to build a register. If a nation cannot afford it, what do we do? So there are other ways of looking at the register not necessarily saying let's change it, I’m saying that it is expensive,” he said in a Citi News interview. Kofi Portuphy’s comment follows calls by the NPP and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) for a new voters register, with suggestions that it must be changed to enhance its credibility and national appeal.

The NPP had petitioned the Electoral Commission over the matter arguing that the register is bloated with names of foreigners and minors.

Meanwhile, the EC, at an IPAC meeting on Friday directed all the political parties to submit proposals for a new voters register.

Not enthused by the NPP’s demand which he said was creating ‘panic’, the NDC’s National Chairman said there was no need for a new register, as there are several ways the existing one could be cleaned.

“Political parties are to submit their views and opinions stating concretely what their views are not necessarily what the NPP is saying. We have been articulating our views. There is no reason why we should create panic about voters register. We may at the end of the day agree to have a new register but we will look at what we have now; have we gone by the laws that govern registration, exhibition of the voters register, that govern voting?

At the polling station when you are registering, you have the right to challenge a non-Ghanaian … looking at problems where we have had double registration, the EC has been making a lot of efforts to make the register acceptable to Ghanaians and the international community. We are proud of the democratic movement in this country; we are committed to it so we will articulate and deepen our position and stance with the support of Ghanaians and the nation will move forward.”

He also dispelled rumours that most of the political parties are siding with the NPP on the need for a new register.

“NDC is not being overcrowded. Our views are going to be heard. It’s going to be articulated distinctively and if in the process, some other views weigh better, and they offer the nation a better option, why don’t we accept it. Remember the review of the voters register has been on. We have, together with the EC, expunged over 158,000 names from the register. So if more names must be expunged, why not?”