The European Union (EU) Election Follow-up Mission (EFM) has urged further implementation of its key recommendations ahead of Ghana’s Election 2020.
Led by Mr Tamas Meszerics, the former Chief Observer of the 2016 European Union Observation Mission (EU EOM), and former Member of the European Parliament, the EFM’s main objectives were to assess the progress made on electoral reforms.
They were also to check the implementation of the recommendations presented in the 2016 EU EOM Final Report, as well as to propose actions that could contribute to the overall improvement of the electoral framework in Ghana.
According to the EU EOM, the 2016 recommendations were based on an impartial assessment of all aspects of the electoral process and guided by regional and international standards for elections.
The EFM Team, which paid a five-day working visit to Ghana, met with the EU Member States in Ghana, the leadership of Parliament and some parliamentary institutions, security and governmental agencies, civil society organisations and some political parties.
The EFM also organised a roundtable in Accra to share its preliminary findings and facilitate stakeholders’ discussion and identification of recommended electoral reforms that could be agreed upon in the lead up to the 2020 general election.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Meszerics lauded Ghana for adopting the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which was part of the recommendation of the EU EOM.
He said the EFM believed that its effective implementation would help ensure transparency in key aspects of the electoral process.
He noted that even if progress in the implementation of other relevant EU EOM recommendations remained limited, a number of legal and administrative reforms were being discussed and should be considered.
Mr Meszerics said the reforms related to the work of the Electoral Commission (EC), campaign environment and finance, electoral dispute resolution mechanism and political participation of women.
He urged the EC to come out with a campaign period for political parties, which could begin from the registration of candidates till elections were held.
He suggested that the EC placed an effective communication team in place to ensure its website was always vibrant.
“We are encouraged to see that initiatives have been undertaken to improve future electoral processes.”
“We urge all electoral stakeholders to engage in good faith in extensive consultations in view of achieving the necessary bi-partisan consensus and an environment conducive for a greater level of public confidence in the electoral process.”
A comprehensive final report would be published in the next couple of months and would be used to further the EU’s ongoing engagement to support Ghana’s democratic institutions, he said.
Madam Diana Acconcia, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, hailed Ghana for being a beacon of peace and democracy in Africa.
Other dignitaries at the press conference include Madam Eirini Gounari, Team Leader of the EU EFM, and Mr Pieter Smidt Van Gelde, Political Officer, EU Delegation to Ghana.