The Electoral Commission (EC) has suspended the collection of filing fees from presidential and parliamentary aspirants contesting the December 7 polls, due to the legal contention over the amount.
The Chairperson of the commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, told the aspirants who presented their nomination forms at the EC legal quarters in Accra, yesterday to hold on to their monies until further notice.
“We want you to hold on to the amount for now. We shall invite you to present them when we get clearance from our lawyers,” she told the aspirants, as she received their nomination forms.
As a result, the aspirants who were supposed to pay the filling fees upon submitting their nomination forms, had to leave without paying anything, although some were ready to pay the amount in full.
The EC is demanding GH50,000 from candidates interested in the position of the president while parliamentary aspirants are to pay GH10,000.
In the 2012 elections, candidates who contested for the presidential position paid GHc5,000, while parliamentary aspirants paid GHc1,000.
The new charges announced by the EC represent a 1,000 per cent increase of the amount charged four years ago.
The legal action over the filling fees was initiated by the flag-bearer of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwasi Nduom.
According to Dr. Nduom, the amount announced by the EC was too high and therefore, he had resolved to use the legal system to compel the commission to reduce the “outrageous” amount.
The National Democratic Party (NDP) supported the position of the PPP, and urged the EC to reduce the amount.
“Democracy is not ‘moneycracy’. It should not be reserved for only the rich in the society. The 1000 per cent increase is too much,” the NDP flagbearer, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, told journalists after presenting her nomination forms.
However, the two main political parties, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have raised no objection to the amount being demanded by the EC.
They were ready to pay the full amount for their presidential and all 275 parliamentary aspirants yesterday until the EC urged them to hold on to their monies.
The Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC) have also expressed their readiness to pay the amount.
The General Secretary of the APC, Mr. Razak Opoku, told journalists after presenting the nomination forms on behalf of the party’s flagbearer that the amount charged by the EC was not enough and even suggested that aspirants were supposed to pay 50 per cent of the amount upon picking their nomination forms.
The flagbearer of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), Kwabena Adjei Bambaata, told The Ghanaian Times before submitting his forms that his party had no problem with the amount being demanded by the EC for the position of the president.
His concern was on the amount charged for the parliamentary seats.
“Doing an analysis of what was charged in 2012 and now, I think it is on a high side, especially with the parliamentary,” he stressed.
The Public Relations Officer of the EC, Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, told The Ghanaian Times that the amount charged by the EC was not to deter any candidate from contesting.
He said it was the prerogative of the commission to set the amount to be paid as filing fees for general elections in the country, and added that notwithstanding the court suit, the commission’s calendar would not be affected.