The Electoral Commission (EC) has confirmed that the District Level Elections (DLE) and the referendum to amend Article 55 (3) of the Constitution for metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to be elected on partisan basis will be held on the same day.
It, however, said timelines for the election, referendum and related activities would be announced in due course.
Ahead of the referendum, the EC has drafted a Constitutional Instrument (CI) to regulate the referendum and that will be discussed with the Attorney-General’s Department and laid before the current session of Parliament.
The Head of Communications of the EC, Mr Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, said this in a statement read to the press following an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held yesterday.
Present at the meeting were representatives of registered political parties, development partners, a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) and senior officers of the EC.
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The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hajia Alima Mahama, had previously indicated that the referendum and the elections would take place in September this year.
The EC also said the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Law Committee had convened its meetings, beginning with the Greater Accra Region.
Among the stakeholders to be consulted are the political parties, CSOs, the clergy, the media and traditional authorities following which regional consultations will take place.
“Thereafter, the Committee will embark on international consultations to collate the views of Ghanaians abroad and to learn from the experience of other electoral management bodies.
It is anticipated that the Committee will present a comprehensive report to the EC by the end of May 2019.
Towards that end, the EC gave a hint at the IPAC meeting of plans to develop a committee to regulate the activities of political parties in that area.
On the issue of submission of returns and audited accounts, the EC entreated political parties which had not submitted their accounts to do so by February 13, 2019.
It also noted that a number of audited accounts received fell short of international standards.
Ayawaso by-election violence
The EC also condemned the violence that occurred at the residence of the parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Delali Kwasi Brempong, during the recently held Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and called on political parties to address the issue of vigilantes within their respective groupings to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.
“During the recent by-election, it is noted that the security officers should have better handled the clashes which occurred in the home of the NDC candidate,” it said.
Reaction from NDC
Addressing the press after the close of the IPAC meeting, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the commission sought to present the picture that the by-election was peaceful and successful.
But that commentary, he said, did not find favour with majority of the parties present who wondered what criteria the EC used in calling the by-election successful or peaceful.
He went on to say that “if any election management body can call this by-election as peaceful, then they don’t know what they are about.
To call that election successful is also neither here nor there because this is the worst election in terms of turn-out. You have an obligation under the Constitution to ensure that as many people as are eligible get registered and participate in all our elections.
So if you have a constituency where close to 90,000 Ghanaians have been registered as eligible voters and you end up having a turn-out of 17,000, which works up to 19 per cent of the people participating,do you call that a successful election?”