The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana plans to propose November 7th as the new date for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections as part of its proposals for electoral reform.
Accordingly, the EC says it will present the necessary Constitutional Instrument (CI) to Parliament for the elections to be moved from the currently mandated December 7th.
Spokespersons for the EC say the reason for the date change is to provide time for the EC to organize a run-off election should the need arise. According to the Constitution of Ghana, candidates need to secure 50%, plus one vote, to win an outright first round run. If none of the candidates are able to achieve this, the constitution calls for a run-off between the top 2 candidates within 21 days of the first poll.
Sylvia Annor, a public relations official for the EC, pointed out that the EC is constrained by combination of the January 7th date for the handing over ceremony with the mandatory 21-day wait period for the run-off elections.
Pending parliamentary approval, next year’s election and subsequent ones will be held on November 7th.
Mrs. Annor explained that it is only a proposal at this stage, and it would take full parliamentary ratification to come into full effect.
The 2008 election, which brought the late John Atta Mills to power, went through the run-off process and may have highlighted the scheduling difficulties caused by holding the general election so close to the handing over ceremony.
The EC says it is undertaking some vital reforms before next year’s elections. However, a new voters’ register, requested by the biggest opposition party the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is not yet one of the items on the list.
Ghana’s first Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 1992 were held on separate days in November and December respectively, but since then, the process continues to go through restructuring.