The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has rejected accusations that it is discriminating against some certified political parties ahead of its presidential debate.
The IEA has announced that its presidential debate, this time round, will be restricted to just President John Mahama and the Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo.
Some of the political parties have in reaction, accused the institute of deliberately discriminating against them for their own parochial reasons.But the IEA’s Executive Director, Jean Mensah has a defended the new directive saying “we have been magnanimous.”
“Some think we are being discriminatory at them. In the first place we are working with parties with representation in parliament and you will find that we will have a party that will have more than a hundred seats being on the same platform with parties that have one seat. I think that we’ve been magnanimous,” she said.
According to Jean Mensah, that has been the criterion in the past and “I don’t think that is discriminatory at all.”
“The criterion we have chosen is very important otherwise you will end up with the situation where when you have hundred registered parties you will have all of them on the debate,” she explained.
IEA’s ‘changes’ to presidential debates disrespectful – Parties
The IEA, has come under intense fire from some major political parties over its decision to limit the Presidential debates to only two political parties.
It has also been chided for not holding consultations before taking the decision.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) expressed displeasure with the decision describing the action as disrespectful.
According to the party’s National Organizer, Kofi Adams, “we did not have any consultation with the IEA and you cannot just get up and make announcements without engaging the political parties that are involved especially when you are introducing something new. At least they should have treated us with some respect. We strongly feel that we have been disrespected.”
IEA undermining democracy
The leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom had also accused the IEA of trying to undermine democracy with it’s upcoming presidential debate.
“We have been told that the IEA has announced a series of debates for the 2016 elections and those debates they claim are aimed at strengthening our democracy. Well I think not. I don’t I agree with what the IEA intends to do. In this country we have a political parties’ law. It is the political parties’ law that determine which political parties are in good standing. It is the one that also gives authorization to the Electoral Commission to determine who is a legitimate presidential or parliamentary candidate and so if the IEA wants to do something to strengthen our democracy it should rather work with the Electoral Commission, help it to truly determine what parties are legitimate and which candidate should be certified to contest the presidential election in 2016,” he argued.
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana