18,938 vie for Assembly positions

A total of 18,938 persons are competing in the District Assembly Elections today in 6,135 electoral areas throughout the country.

They are made up of 17,783 men and 1,012 women, who are contesting for positions in the various assemblies.

Also, 43,584 candidates will be competing for positions in the unit committees of the assemblies.

Sources at the Electoral Commission (EC), said the Commission was ready to organise the election at all the polling stations, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

They said the E.C had trained electoral officers, procured biometric devices, printed ballot papers, and dispatched them to the various electoral areas.

A number of candidates who are either above 70 years or on govenrment scholarship, were disqualified by the commission from contesting in the polls.

According to the commission, such persons were statutorily barred from contesting for positions in the assemblies.

Also, other candidates who used political party colours, symbols and logos were disqualified from contesting.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charllote Osei told newsmen recently that although some individuals had expressed dissatisfaction with the process and had threatened to take the E.C to court, nothing would prevent the commission from organising the election, apart from a court order.

The election which should have been held in October last year, was postponed due to lack of finances.

In December last year, Parliament approved the District Level Elections Regulations, 2014, Constitutional Instrument (C.I) 85 to give the E.C the mandate to conduct the elections.

Subsequently, the commission fixed March 3 to elect new assembly members to replace the old members whose mandate expired on March 20.

However, on February 27, one Benjamin Eyi Mensah, a fisherman, took the E.C to the Supreme Court to challenge the commission’s decision to disqualify him from contesting.

He argued that the commission had no reason to disqualify him because the E.C opened nominations even before C.I. 85 matured in Parliament.

The Court upheld his request, nullified C.I 85 and ordered the commission to begin afresh, the process of organising the election.

About GH¢100 million had already been sunk into the election. Also, a vacuum was created in the district assemblies since there were no new elected assembly members to replace those whose mandate expired in March.

The then chairman of the E.C, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, on March 20, presented the District Level Elections Regulations, 2015, Constitutional Instrument (C.I) 89 to Parliament to regulate the conduct of a new District Assemblies’ election.

The instrument, which was laid and gazetted in Parliament the same day, matured after 21 sitting days as required by law and approved by the law makers.

This paved the way for the E.C to fix today for the elections.

By Yaw Kyei      

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