EC confident elections will come off on Nov 7 despite huge legal hurdle

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The Electoral Commission is confident this year’s general elections will come off on November 7 as planned and in spite of warnings by some Members of Parliament (MPs).

The Director of Administration at the EC, Christian Owusu Parry said the commission has done what is should do to ensure the necessary processes begin.

In October 2015, the EC announced plans to hold the elections on November 7 instead of the constitutionally mandated date of December 7.

The Commission said lessons learnt in 2000 and 2008 informed the new proposal. In those two years, no presidential candidate obtained the required number of votes – 50% plus one vote – to win the presidency necessitating run-offs. Both run-offs were held three weeks after the first round of voting. A winner was therefore declared at the end of December, leaving a week to prepare for transition because an opposition party won either election.

Some civil society organizations have supported the call for the change of the status quo saying, if the amendment bill is passed, it will make room for the Commission to organize a run-off in case no candidate is able to secure the 50%-plus-one vote required for a first round victory.

Some MPs have warned that the processes to ratify the change are elaborate and time-consuming.

The Majority Leader Alban Bagbin told Joy News, the amendment bill must be gazetted twice. After it is first gazetted, a period of three months is needed before the second gazette.

It takes 10 days after the second gazette after which the bill is pushed to the Council of State for further consideration until it finally comes back to parliament.

These and other factors, the MPs fear might prolong the approval of the bill to change the date from December 7 to November 7.

But the Commission says it is hoping the Attorney General and parliament will act expeditiously to ensure that the necessary amendments are made.

Christian Owusu Parry told Joy News’ Kwakye Afreh Nuamah the Commission is currently preparing towards the November 7 date.