The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has welcomed the decision by the Electoral Commission EC to abolish the Strong room in the 2016 general election.
The abolition of the Strong room was among a set of recommendations which the IEA submitted to the EC under the IEA Electoral Reforms Project.
The Executive Director of the IEA, Mrs Jean Mensa, in a statement expressed the hope that the EC would adopt the remaining IEA proposals on electoral reforms to strengthen Ghana’s Electoral System for 2016 and beyond.
The Electoral Reforms Project is an initiative of the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme (IEA-GPPP).
The project was formulated in the wake of Ghana’s 2012 general election and subsequent Election Petition.
The project sought to undertake research into Ghana’s electoral system with the view to providing recommendations for reform.
Mrs Mensa explained that 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, she said, were attended by several stakeholders including political parties, the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media.
She said the workshops provided an objective platform for discussion of the weaknesses with the country’s electoral system as well as recommendations for strengthening the system.
Twenty-five key recommendations
“This culminated in the compilation of a report detailing about 25 key recommendations for reform, a copy of which was submitted to the EC,” she said.
Among the recommendations contained in the report, she said, 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,” she explained.
She said 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, the media, CSOs and election observers under close security.
Furthermore, she said, the report proposed that the proceedings within the National Collation Centre should be broadcast on live television.
“This would boost confidence in the outcome of the elections and enhance the democracy of Ghana,” she recounted.