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General News of Thursday, 19 May 2016


Political Parties’ Law: PPP backs EC

Political parties intending to contest the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to bar those without adequate representation nationwide from participating in Ghana’s November 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls have been advised to rather lobby for the law’s amendment.

Ghana’s Political Parties’ Law mandates each party to have offices in at least two-thirds of the country’s 216 districts, a requirement the EC has gone soft on over the years since its return to multi-party democracy in 1992. But some minor political parties – at risk of being left out of the polls if the EC carries out its promise to disqualify such parties – have threatened the commission with a court action.

Though some small parties are fighting the EC over its determination to implement the law in the November polls, chairman of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, holds the view that compliance by political parties with the constitutional requirement was necessary. He said the party had communicated a similar position in the lead-up to the 2012 election and continued to stand by that.

“We have not shifted our stance. We still say the EC must ensure it performs that role,” he told Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, Accra100.5FM’s morning show, on Thursday May 19, 2016.

He said the PPP had yet to establish its presence in the required number of constituencies like other small parties, but was making efforts to address that in time for the elections. Mr Hammond said parties who felt the law was “too restrictive” or “stiff” could be better off pushing for a change in legislation, rather than taking on the EC.

“If you feel you cannot meet it, the best thing is to call for an amendment to the law, not that the law is there and we are doing something different. Once we do that then we are not being law-abiding.

“The best advice is to call for an amendment of the law, so, the challenges [with compliance] are reduced. That is what we ought to do.”