IEA Welcomes Strong Room Abolition

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has welcomed the adoption of its recommendation by the Electoral Commission (EC) that the strong room be abolished in the country’s elections.

This was among a set of recommendations which the IEA submitted to the EC under the IEA Electoral Reforms Project, a release signed by the foremost politico-economic think-tank and signed by its Executive Director, Jean Mensa, stated.

The Electoral Reforms Project is an initiative of the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme (IEA-GPPP) and was formulated in the wake of Ghana’s 2012 general elections and 2013 eelection petition. It sought to undertake research into Ghana’s electoral system with the view to providing recommendations for reform.

As part of activities of the Electoral Reforms Project, the IEA held a series of workshops in 2013 and 2014 to discuss Ghana’s electoral system. The workshops were attended by several stakeholders, including political parties, National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media.

The workshops provided an objective platform for discussion of the weaknesses with Ghana’s electoral system as well as recommendations for strengthening the system. This culminated in the compilation of a report detailing about 25 key recommendations for reform, a copy of which was submitted to the EC.

Among the recommendations contained in the report was the need to abolish the strong room of the EC. The rationale for the recommendation was that a strong room does not promote the transparency and perception of credibility that is necessary for building Ghana’s democracy.

The report proposed that the strong room should be replaced with the establishment of a National Collation Centre, which would be open and accessible to about 500 people, including members of political parties, media, CSOs and election observers under close security.

Furthermore, the report proposed that the proceedings within the National Collation Centre should be broadcast through live television. This would boost confidence in the outcome of the elections and enhance the democracy of Ghana.

The IEA, according to the release, ‘therefore welcomes the announcement by the EC, and hopes that the EC would adopt the remaining IEA proposals on electoral reform to strengthen Ghana’s Electoral System for 2016 and beyond.’

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