The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has proposed that the Electoral Commission be split into two as part of an ongoing electoral reform proposal by the party.
According to the party, one of the two bodies of the proposed Electoral Commission (EC) will be in charge of regulating activities of the various political parties and the other will be strictly handling elections.
Communications Officer of the party, Mr. Sammy Gyamfi, confirmed to the Daily Graphic media reports about the NDC’s proposal for the Electoral Commission to be split into two.
“It’s authentic and that is part of the reform proposal we are submitting to the EC”, Mr. Gyamfi said. This, the party said, would also see to the amendment of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574).
“Split the EC into two separate bodies namely an Office for the Regulation of Political Parties (ORPP) and an Electoral Commission (EC) by amending the Political Parties Act, 2000, Act 574,” NDC’s 10th proposal reads.
“Neither the Constitution nor the EC Act makes the EC responsible for the regulation of political parties; that function is prescribed by Act 574; the two functions are separate, involving heavy responsibilities that require full-time attention,” the background to the proposal said.
The NDC, in justifying the proposal, stressed that the separation would “enable the two offices to focus equal and full-time attention on their two different mandates; mitigate the perception of bias on the part of the EC as a result of its current dual mandate.
“Address the concern expressed by the National Security Secretariat that mistrust of the EC is a potential ground for violence and a threat to state security; ensure conformity with international best practice as many countries have this system of separation”
The opposition NDC is asking that EC chairpersons should be appointed subject to parliamentary approval.
The party said the current mode of appointing electoral commissioners is partisan, therefore, the party, in over 30 proposals, seeking electoral reforms, argues that parliamentarians must have a hand in the appointment.
The NDC in its justifications indicated that, it is critical for an independent body like the EC chairperson to be independent, neutral, credible, transparent, and competent.
The NDC further referenced the appointment of Justices of the Supreme Court whose role is similar to the EC Chair and subordinates, but are appointed with prior parliamentary approval to advance their argument.
“Chairperson of EC, as the Returning Officer of the presidential election, must not be solely appointed by the President, who is often a candidate,” the party proposed.