The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), has criticized the Electoral Commission (EC) for charging what it called exorbitant filing fees from presidential and parliamentary aspirants.
The EC at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Thursday put the filing fee for presidential aspirants at GHc50,000 and GHc10,000 for parliamentary aspirants.
But the NPP laments that the 400% increase in the filing fee compared to previous elections would only limit participation in the democratic process to a privileged few.
[contextly_sidebar id=”yiPxPRavSji5jtu1HEC1n8uVTXbaYipU”]Speaking to journalists after the IPAC meeting, NPP’s Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu, said reviewing the amount would be in the right direction for smaller parties.
“For me, it’s a lot of money. We did question it but it is the decision of the EC that they also don’t want the proliferation of non-existent parties and individuals who come and worry them with their processes. I think there must be a balance of people’s ability to participate in our democracy. Mind you it is not only political parties that present candidates but independent people who are not at this forum also present candidates,” he added.
NDC okays ‘exorbitant’ filing fees
Meanwhile, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) argues that the filing fee is just enough.
The party insists that the ability to mobilize resources is key for any person seeking to lead the country.
Speaking to Citi News, the party’s Director of Elections, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, said though they sympathize with the smaller political parties, they must show resourcefulness.
“Indeed; the Electoral Commission has assured us that any political party that is able to get twelve and half percent of the total votes will have their filing fee refunded to them after the election. We are very confident we will get more than twelve and half percent in the coming election so it is an investment. We will invest in our candidate; we will pay and at the end of the day we believe that we will get a refund from the Electoral Commission so we are not too worried.”
He explained that, at their parliamentary primaries, the aspirants paid GHc10,000 as filing fee “it’s not too much of a big deal for us especially when we are aware that we are entitled to a refund after the election results have been declared.”
On concerns by the smaller parties, Ofosu Ampofo said they are justified and said “I believe if the Electoral Commission could give a second thought to it, that is ok.But when you want to go into parliament you should be resourceful, so the ticket that enables to be accredited as a parliamentary candidate is your ability to file…even though I agree with the smaller parties that a reduction will be good, they need to also mobilize resources individually and collectively to be able to cross this hurdle.”
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By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana