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NDC officially declares intention to contest 2020 elections in court

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has officially declared its intention to go to court to challenge the declaration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President-elect by the Electoral Commission (EC) after the December 7, 2020 presidential election.

A statement issued Tuesday[December 29, 2020] and signed by the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, stated that the party arrived at the decision following a National Executive Committee meeting today

“The NEC declared that the NDC will contest the results of the rigged election in the Supreme Court and other appropriate fora," it stated.

In addition the party will continue all legitimate actions including protests to press home its demands for the government of President Akufo-Addo to enforce the rule of law,” it said

When will it be filed?

It is not clear when the NDC will file its petition challenging the declaration by the EC, although some members of the party had indicated that it will be filed by Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

As at 3:30pm Tuesday , sources at the Supreme Court told Graphic Online that the NDC was yet to file its petition, reports Graphic Online's Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson.

“What we know is that one of the lawyers made inquiries about the filling fee,” one source told Graphic Online.

Per Article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution, a petition challenging the validity of the election of the President should be filed at the Supreme Court within 21 days after the declaration of the results by the EC.

The EC declared the results on December 9 so technically the 21 one days elapses Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

Below is a copy of the statement by the NDC

Format

According to a new Supreme Court (Amendment) (No.2) Rules, 2016 (C.I. 99), only the declared winner of the election, in this case (President Akufo-Addo), and the EC can be respondents in the petition.

Again, per the new rules, only Former President John Dramani Mahama, the Presidential Candidate of the NDC, can be the petitioner.

This is a major departure from the 2013 presidential election petition filed by then candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, which also had the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a petitioner and the NDC being allowed to join as a respondent aside the Electoral Commission and the NDC's presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama.

This means per the new rules no joinder application will be allowed.

Another major shift in the new rules is that the Supreme Court will use 42 days to determine the petition.

This was unlike the 2013 case in which the petition traveled more than eight months.

Per Rule 69 C (4) of C.I. 99, the pre-trial of the petition shall be on the 10th day after the filling of the petition, with hearing commencing on the 15th day and ending on the 21st day respectively after the filing, while judgment will be on the 42nd day.

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