The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that it will conduct ballots for presidential candidates for the December 7 elections on Thursday November 10, 2016.
This comes on the back of the Supreme Court ruling ordering the EC to extend the period for the receipt of nomination to Tuesday, November 8, to enable disqualified presidential aspirants to correct errors on their nomination forms.
The Electoral Commission said the apex court specifically asked it to conduct the balloting on Thursday, after the final list of candidates is declared on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.
Balloting for positions on the ballot paper has often been keenly anticipated, since political parties use their positions on the ballot paper to coin attractive political slogans to attract more votes.
Presidential candidates had the option to be there in person or delegate their representatives.
Flagbearers who are able to successfully complete the electoral process for filing nomination papers are the ones that qualify to participate in the balloting.
Meanwhile, the Commission has already written to all the affected presidential hopefuls, alerting them of their errors, and reminding them to as a matter of urgency correct same in view of the court ruling.
Some parties already feel that the extension period is too short and therefore feel they might not be able to make it.
Below is the EC’s full response to the Supreme Court verdict
EC WELCOMES SUPREME COURT VERDICT
The Commission has received a certified copy of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of the Republic vrs. High Court (Commercial Division) Ex-Parte Electoral Commission (Papa Kwesi Nduom, Interested Party). Upon carefully studying the judgment, the Commission is glad to note as follows:
1. That the Apex Court agreed with the Commission that the High Court committed an error of law apparent on the face of the record by holding that the Commission did not fix a nomination period. The Supreme Court indeed confirmed that there was a nomination period.
2. The Supreme Court also agreed with the Commission that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction when it ordered the Commission to allow Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom to alter or amend his nomination papers. The court therefore quashed the High Court’s order in that respect.
Following the above, the Apex Court ordered that: 1. The nomination period which closed on 30th September, 2016 be extended for a further period of 2-days from Monday November 7 to Tuesday November 8, 2016.
2. That the Commission should invite Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, and all the disqualified presidential candidates who were able to submit their papers within the earlier nomination period, for a hearing within the extended nomination period specified above.
3. The Court further ordered that the Commission should in appropriate cases afford the candidates the opportunity to comply with Regulation 9 (2) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94). For the avoidance of doubt, the Regulation 9(2) of the law provides that: “The returning officer shall inform a candidate that the candidate’s nomination is invalid where:
a. The particulars of a candidate or the persons subscribing to the nomination paper are not as required by law; or
b. The nomination paper is not subscribed to as required by law, and shall give the candidate an opportunity to make amendment or any alteration necessary within the stipulated nomination period.”
4. The Court further ordered that the Commission declare the candidates so nominated to contest the 2016 elections by close of Wednesday November 9, 2016.
5. The Court also ordered that the Commission conduct the balloting of presidential candidates by Thursday November 10, 2016.
6. The Supreme Court also ordered a stay of proceedings pending in the various High Courts against the Commission in respect of the same issue to enable the Commission to carry out its constitutional obligations. In line with the Court’s directives, all the 12 persons whose nomination forms were invalidated for failing to meet the legal requirements are hereby:
i. Invited to come to the Commission’s Head Quarters for a hearing within the extended nomination period specified above.
ii. They have the opportunity to correct the errors on their nomination forms and submit same to the Commission within the extended nomination period ending at 5:00pm on November 8, 2016.
iii. All corrected pages must be submitted in quadruplicate to the Commission.
The Commission would like to sincerely thank their Lordships for determining the case speedily. We would like to further express our utmost appreciation to the Court for bringing finality to the issue and therefore saving the electoral calendar. Thank you.
Eric Kofi Dzakpasu
Head of Communications