Current democratic dispensation has shut political space for minority parties—Sakara Foster

The founder of the National Interest Movement, Dr Sakara Foster, has decried the current democratic dispensation which does not allow the minority parties space to compete favourably in elections.

Rather, he said, it had encouraged the duopoly in elections, thereby shutting the political space for them to contribute meaningfully to democratic governance.

Dr Foster explained that under the 1992 Constitution, whenever there was a runoff during elections, there was re-voting instead of another political party joining forces with the party with most votes which had prevented minority political parties from being recognised and growing their support base.

“Since we have been voting, we have had to go a second round at least two or three times, in those times if the constitution allowed for formation of coalition, then another party would have come with its vote to form coalition with whichever party had most votes and would have been in government championing particular cause for which it would be recognized.

“In time, its support base will grow but we do not have that option, we go and vote again until someone gets 50 per cent plus one, political space shuts because the winner takes all and practice of democracy as we have it, has closed the political space for minority parties to expand their support base.

“During the 2008 general election, there was a runoff as both presidential candidates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), Atta Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo respectively, were unable to cross the 50 per cent plus one threshold and after re-voting, the late former President Mills was elected.

“In the 2012 general election, similar event occurred when John Mahama, representing NDC and Nana Akufo-Addo representing NPP had less than 50 per cent plus one vote and NDC won the elections after re-vote although in the past there has been partnership which has been on personal rather than institutional level,” Dr Foster contended.

According to him, one of the objectives of the movement was to rally support and assistance for an independent alternative to electoral duopoly and also demanding amendment of Articles 86, 87, 178, 179, and 180 of the 1992 Constitution. –

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