Indications are that four leading political parties in the country including the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC)and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) are not likely to participate in upcoming Parliamentary by-elections in Wulensi and Kwabre West constituencies in the Northern and Ashanti regions respectively.
The Peopleâ€™s National Convention (PNC) and the Convention Peopleâ€™s Party (CPP) are also not participating, leaving the turf for Paa Kwesi Nduomâ€™s Progressive Peoples Party (PPP).
The decision follows the Electoral Commission (EC) insistence on using the old voter cards, which have been revoked with a Constitutional Instrument (CI 72), to conduct the elections in spite of the introduction of the new biometric votersâ€™ cards.
Others have also questioned the prudence in organizing a by-election, considering the financial implications on the parties and the fact that the general elections were only five months away.
With this development, general secretaries of the four parties have sued the EC, seeking to bar the holding of the by-elections in both constituencies.
Samuel Atta Akyea is the lawyer for the parties, according to Ivor Greenstreet, general secretary of the CPP.
The seats became vacant following the death of the Members of Parliament (MPs) for Wulensi and Kwabre West, Alhaji Saani Iddi, an independent MP, and Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah of NPP.
The Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) is however contesting the decision because it believes no political party should be made to determine whether or not a by-election should take place in a given area in view of the Constitutional provisions.
The party is already on the ground campaigning and believes the seat can swing in favour of any of the political parties.
Presidential candidate for the party, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, who spoke on Accra-based Citi FM, argued, â€śIt is the EC that determines how elections are going to be conducted and the PPP as a political party doesnâ€™t, the NDC doesnâ€™t and the NPP doesnâ€™t and than any other political party.â€ť
He disagreed with those who argued that in view of the fact that general elections were close by, the by-elections should be foregone to save the ECâ€™s already limited resources, saying, â€śLet nobody come and say yes the Constitution says this and therefore but we can decide; when it is convenient for us, we can set the Constitution aside and do something different.â€ť
â€śWe must not allow any political party to attempt to bully the EC in anyway,â€ť he said, recalling, â€śIndeed this is not the first time that this is happening. Remember in 1992, a number of political parties decided not to contest parliamentary elections; that election went on.â€ť
For this reason, he said, â€śLetâ€™s not set precedent that might even bring the December elections into disreputeâ€¦if we donâ€™t like what is in the Constitution, letâ€™s go and seek an amendment to what is in there. Until we do so, we abide by what is in the Constitution.â€ť
The PPP candidate indicated that he did not care how long a person might spend in parliament even if it was a day since â€śindeed, if I stand somewhere one day as president of the Republic of Ghana for just one day, there are many things that I can do in just that one day. So duration is neither here nor thereâ€ť.
Â By Charles Takyi-Boadu