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Ghana Electoral Commission Defends Nomination Fees for Candidates

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - A sign for Ghana's Electoral Commission is seen at a voting station in Accra during a previous poll.

FILE - A sign for Ghana's Electoral Commission is seen at a voting station in Accra during a previous poll.

The Electoral Commission of Ghana has sharply denied accusations that its newly released nomination fees for candidates are exorbitant and intended to frustrate smaller political parties.

Ghanaian electoral laws allow the commission to determine nomination fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates ahead of polls. Presidential candidates will be required to pay $12,505 and parliamentary candidates will pay $2,501 for the December 7 elections, the commission said.

Spokesman Eric Dzakpasu said the commission made the announcement following a stakeholders meeting Thursday with the Interparty Advisory Committee in Accra.

“This is a decision taken by the commission at the very highest level, and I would say that it is not 'elimination by rough tactics,' as they put it. These are fees which have been informed by a lot of considerations. The law also makes room that these are not fees that can be kept by the commission at all, because they are refundable fees” for candidates who reach a specified level of support, Dzakpasu said.

“If you are a presidential candidate, by regulation, if at the end of the election you are able to get 29 percent of the votes cast in the election, your money is refunded to you," he said. "If you are a parliamentary candidate, if you are able to get 12.5 percent of the votes in your constituency, your money is refunded to you.”

Nomination papers

The commission also set September 29 and 30 as the dates for the candidates to officially present their nomination papers, which will allow them to qualify for ballot placement. Presidential candidates will need two signatures from each of the country’s more than 250 administrative districts, while the parliamentary candidates are required to have 20 signatories from their respective constituencies.

Meanwhile, exhibition of the list of those who used the National Health Insurance Scheme card as identification during voter registration ends Saturday.

Supreme Court judges recently ruled that the electoral commission should delete from the register names of those who used the NHIS cards. The commission then deleted the names and re-registered about 29,000 people.

Those who have been re-registered are required to check their information as captured during the process. This, the electoral commission said, forms part of its efforts to compile a credible voter list to be used for the December elections.