General News of Sat, 26 Nov 20168

EC softens stance on election recount?

The Electoral Commission appears to be softening its stance on the controversial call for a recount of ballots when the election results are close.

On Joy FM's Newsfile program Saturday, a Commission member said the word recount is being used mischievously and hinted the EC's call for recount or re-collation may just be abandoned on election day.

Rebecca Kabukie was quick to add though that "when the time comes the Commission will take a decision."

She was commenting on the controversial declaration by the EC chair, Charlotte Osei that she will call for a recount of the ballots when the election results are close.

By law it is the political parties who can request a recount or re-collation when they feel figures have been massaged or something untoward has happened in the process of collating or counting of the ballots.

But in an interview on BBC, Mrs Osei stirred the hornet's nest when she suggested that depending on how close the results are on election day, she will, without request from political parties, recount the ballots.

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"Our elections in Ghana tend to be very close. If it is so close, it might be prudent to stop, inform everyone, do a total recount and be sure of what we are announcing finally," she explained.

She also said if results from all the collation centres are not in the EC will not declare who the winner of the election is.

Her comments were heavily criticised by sections of the political parties who thought the EC chair was overstepping her bounds and acting in contravention of the law.

The issue came up strongly during the Inter Party Advisory Committee held Friday.

Providing details of the Commission's position after the IPAC meeting, Rebecca Kabukie said the issue of recount came up strongly in the last election and EC thought the parties will welcome the comment by the Commission chair.

"If the parties don't want a recount that is fine. When the time comes the Commission will take a decision.

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"The word recount is being used mischievously," she stated, adding the process of a recount is stated in law and suggested that the EC chair may have been referring to a re-collation and not a recount.

Recounts are only requested for by parties at the polling station but re-collation happens only at the collation centres where results of all the polling stations are collated.

There are 29,000 polling stations with 275 collation centres.

One of the EC Commissioners in charge of operations Sulley Amadu who was also on Newsfile said "the law has explicitly stated what to do for recount and also hinted the EC chair may have been referring to a re-collation.

He however stated returning officer has the right to do a re-collation. He was quick to add that every aspect of the election process cannot be captured in law and said the EC has a power of discretion.

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