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Ghana Electoral Chief to Meet Presidential Candidates

Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan gives the presidential election results at the electoral commission in Accra January 3, 2009.
Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan gives the presidential election results at the electoral commission in Accra January 3, 2009.
The chairman of Ghana’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is scheduled to meet all presidential candidates Tuesday ahead of the December 7 general election.

Kwadwo Afari-Gyan says he will brief the candidates about the new measures the electoral group has implemented to ensure a credible, transparent and peaceful vote.

“[This is] basically to brief them on the electoral process,” Afari-Gyan said. “And it is particularly important this year because we have introduced some new elements - biometric voter registration, biometric verification at the point of the ballot. You need to explain all these things to them.”

The briefing also will enable the election commission to address concerns the candidates have expressed about the December presidential, legislative and local elections.

“If they have any concerns about the electoral system, we will listen to them and try to offer explanations or clarifications. Just to assure them that electoral system has integrity and that it will record the votes as cast,” he said.

“It will also be an opportunity for them to meet together, not as adversaries in the field, but as colleagues in an atmosphere where they can chat and maybe share jokes with one another.”

The candidates expected to attend include President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and main challenger Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Others expected at the gathering include the Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) Michael Abu Sakara Foster and Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), the People's National Convention’s (PNC) Hassan Ayariga, United Front Party’s (UFP), Akwasi Adddai Odike, the Great Consolidated Popular Party’s (GCPP) Henry Lartey and an Independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah.

Some analysts have expressed concern that supporters of some political parties could undermine the integrity of the vote by engaging in prohibited or irregular electioneering.

But, electoral chief Afari-Gyan says INEC has on the successes of previous elections to ensure a free and transparent vote.

“The biometric registration is a big plus. Because of that, we were able to detect the multiple registrations and there were quite a lot of [them],” Afari-Gyan said. “We have handed them to the police because multiple registration is a punishable offense. And that is one thing we have been able to eliminate.”

He also said the biometric registration system would prevent voter impersonation during the balloting.

“These and other things have given people confidence that this election is going to be a very good one,” he said.

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