EU Election Observation Mission declares elections peaceful, transparent


The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) says Monday’s polls were conducted in an efficient, peaceful and transparent manner, despite the few isolated violent incidents.

In its preliminary statement issued in Accra yesterday, it said the elections were competitive as candidates campaigned without hindrance, while there were no unreasonable restrictions on the right to vote.

“Ghanaians voted freely, and while there were isolated violent incidents on Election Day and during campaign, fear of violence and vigilantism fortunately did not materialise,” according to the Chief Observer of the Mission, Javier Nart.

Presenting the statement at a press conference, Mr Nart, who is from Spain and Member of the European Parliament, further described the elections as positive although it took place in a “polarised environment.”

The Mission, which deployed 81observers from 26 EU member states in the country, arrived on October 31, 2020, and would continue to observe post-electoral developments.

According to the statement, “the process was inclusive and resulted in a high number of registered voters, and the quality of the register was positively tested on the Election Day.”

The mission, however, identified at least three persistent shortcomingsof the elections, which it said needed to be addressed to consolidate Ghana’s electoral gains.

They included unregulated campaign finance, misuse of state resources for electioneering and the reportedly common practice of vote buying.

According to Mr Nart, the shortcomings “did not contribute to creating a level playing field among contestants. It will benefit future elections in Ghana if these issues were addressed.”

 He said albeit, the contest was unique, featuring 12 candidates, including three women, as well as a female running mate of a major party, except that women representation in Ghanaian politics was low and needed to be addressed as a priority.

He said since the electoral process was not over, a more comprehensive final report containing recommendations would be issued for improvement of the quality of future elections.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR


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