Seven registered political parties yesterday, picked nomination forms at the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Accra, to contest this year’s presidential election on December 7.
This followed the opening of nominations by the EC yesterday.
These are the Independent People’s Party (IPP), United Front Party (UPP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Democratic People’s Party (DPP), All People’s Congress (APC), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the United People’s Party (UPP).
As at the close of the day two independent candidates had also collected the forms to contest the presidential election.
A highly-placed source at the EC disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times yesterday, and said the submission of the nomination forms would be done between September 29 and 30.
Presidential candidates of the various political parties are expected to pay GHC50, 000 filing fee to enable them to contest the presidential election, while the fee for parliamentary candidates has been pegged at GH¢10, 000.
In 2012, the presidential candidates paid GH¢10,000 as filing fee, while parliamentary candidates paid GH¢1,000.
The EC announced the fees at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting last Thursday and some of the political parties immediately opposed it, demanding a review of the 500 per cent hike in filing fees for presidential candidates.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) said the new filing fees constituted a deliberate attempt by the two main political parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to block smaller parties from contesting the election.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) also described the EC as “insensitive”, and the fees as “outrageous”.
“Why should we pay such exorbitant fees while the activities of the EC are supported with the taxpayers’ money. Elections are a serious matter. That is why we support the EC’s budget; it is taken from the Consolidated Fund. What do they need this money for?” Mr Daniel Bomfeh, Director of Elections of the party, queried.
The Peoples National Convention (PNC) said the new filing fee would stifle multi-party democracy.
Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the PNC ,said about 90 per cent of the EC’s budget had been released and therefore, wondered what the commission would do with such huge sums of money it was demanding from the political parties.
The NPP also criticised the EC for charging what it called “exorbitant filing fees”.
Speaking to journalists after the IPAC meeting, its Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu, said reviewing the amount would be in the interest of smaller parties.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), on the other hand, was not worried about the filing fee, according to the General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
Meanwhile, the EC is yet to decide whether or not it would review the filing fees for the December polls.
By Augustine Cobba-Biney