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Ghana OKs 7 Candidates for Presidential Election

FILE - On Aug. 29, 2013, supporters celebrate the supreme court's decision to uphold the results of a presidential election outside the court in Accra, Ghana. The election of John Mahama was confirmed.

Ghana's electoral commission has qualified seven presidential candidates for the national election on December 7.

The successful candidates — six representing political parties and one independent — took part in a drawing late Wednesday in the capital, Accra, to determine their positions on the ballot.

They will be listed by party affiliation in this order on voters' ballots: Convention People's Party (CPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People's Party (PPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People's National Convention (PNC) and independent (non-party) candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah.

The electoral commission earlier had disqualified several candidates for failing to comply with all registration requirements for the election, but those rulings were challenged in court by the PPP and NDP, among others. A court ruling ordered the commission to allow disqualified candidates time to correct errors in their nomination documents.

Concerns expressed

The process of error correction is now complete, according to electoral commission spokesman Eric Dzakpasu, and it is unlikely any further candidacies will be approved.

“Out of the 10 candidates who resubmitted their nomination papers for reconsideration, three have successfully gone through the process, bringing the total number of candidates for the presidential election to seven. So, just this evening balloting was done, and all the seven candidates now have their positions on the ballot paper for the election," Dzakpasu said. "... I think the door is now shut ... [for] other candidates."

Civil society groups and political parties' supporters have expressed concern that the latest round of legal challenges could have a negative effect on preparations for peaceful, credible and transparent elections next month, when Ghanaians will vote for president, parliament members and local representatives.

Despite some complaints about alleged bias by the electoral commission, Dzakpasu said, "everything has been on course."

Parliamentary ballot

Preparations for the presidential ballot continued during the period when candidates' nominating petitions were being re-examined, he said, and "we are in the final stages of printing the parliamentary ballot."

"All that is left for the commission to do," Dzakpasu said, "is to print the notice of poll for the presidential and then print the ballot papers. And come 7th December we are ready to deliver an election."

Most Ghanaians are focusing on the presidential vote, the spokesman said, but the process of preparing the parliamentary ballot is more complicated.

"We are talking about 275 constituencies, and each constituency has a different permutation of parties and candidates," Dzakpasu said. By contrast only one template is needed for the national ballot for president.

"We've had assurances from the printers that, given the time that is left ... we can have the ballots ready for the election," he added.

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