The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has said it is considering organizing a presidential debate for the flagbearers of the two main political parties, President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The IEA disclosed this at the launch of its Presidential debates and Evening encounters in Accra ahead of the November polls.If the decision is implemented, it would be the first time John Mahama and Nana Addo will square up exclusively in a debate ahead of the polls.
The IEA has been organizing presidential debates since 2008. The Institute says the new innovation is in response to the results of a survey which revealed a public desire for the two front runners in the presidential race to debate face to face.
Mahama ready to debate Nana Addo
President Mahama had earlier challenged Nana Addo to a debate in an interview with TV3.
According to him, Nana Addo had been making some contentious statements thus, he was ready to debate the NPP’s presidential candidate any day.
“I’m willing to debate Nana Akufo-Addo any day even if you call him today, I will put it here and start debating the issues. So I don’t have a problem with debating Nana Addo.”
Nana Addo responded to President Mahama’s challenge via Twitter saying said he would debate President Mahama if it helped solve Ghana’s problems.
“Will President Mahama debating me solve Ghana’s problems? If so, then I am ready to debate him anytime, anywhere and any day,” The NPP flagbearer stated.
Separate debate for other parties
The institute also announced that this time around, it will hold a separate debate for all political parties without representation in parliament. This is contrary to the earlier arrangement where parties without representation in Parliament were exempted from the debate.
Addressing the media in Accra on Tuesday, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs Dr. Michael Ofori-Mensah, explained that these developments are the two new initiatives they would be exploring.
“There are two new initiatives under discussion for 2016 elections. First the IEA is exploring the possibility of holding a debate for the two main front-runners in the presidential election. The second is that we are at an advanced stage about holding a separate debate for political parties without representation in parliament,” he said.
Dr. Ofori-Mensah also said the debates are meant to create a level playing field for aspirants to debate national policies whilst also empowering citizens in demanding accountability.
According to him, the series has been designed to “provide a unique platform for presidential candidates to outline their vision of governance and provide dialogue between the candidates, to empower citizens in demanding accountability, to introduce an issue-based approach in the election campaign process and to promote peace before, during and after the election.”
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonliine/com