The European Union Election Observation Mission to Ghana 2020 (EU EOM) has described the 2020 election as “efficiently organised, competitive, that voters participated freely in large numbers, and that the process successfully met a range of international standards.”
It said the overall conduct of the voting was assessed positively in 95 per cent of polling stations the union observed.
“However, shortcomings, already identified by previous EU election observation missions, remain such as the misuse of state resources, the abuse of incumbency, vote-buying and unregulated campaign finances. These resulted in an uneven playing field,” it stated.
This was contained in the final report of the EU EOM on the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections released in Accra yesterday at a press conference addressed by the Chief Observer, Mr Javier Nart.
The European Union deployed an EU EOM to Ghana between October 31 and December 30, 2020. In total, the mission comprised 80 observers from EU member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada.
The mission’s mandate was to assess the electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections as well as the laws of Ghana.
Mr Nart, who is also a Member of the European Parliament from Spain, explained that the mission had returned to Ghana to present the report to the country’s authorities, and to discuss with stakeholders the proposed reforms contained in the report.
“The EU EOM’s final report is a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process that builds on the initial findings of the preliminary statement, which was issued shortly after the elections in December,” he said.
Mr Nart said the final report contained 18 recommendations for future elections, eight of which were considered to be priorities. Over the coming days, the EU EOM will meet stakeholders from all areas of society with a view to initiating a debate on these suggested reforms.
“The priority recommendations ask for improved procedures for counting and collation, and for the publication of detailed results,” he said.
He said the team also suggested that an affirmative action law that would introduce a quota for women in governance of, at least, 30 per cent needed to be enacted.
He said regulations governing campaign finance were also required as well as effective sanctioning mechanisms against the misuse of state resources, adding that “improved regulation and monitoring of the media as well as effective implementation of the Data Protection Act are also addressed.”
“These recommendations are proposals for consideration by the Ghanaian people. They are suggestions aimed at improving future electoral processes and strengthening Ghana’s democracy — but it is up to the authorities and wider civil society to decide on their implementation,” he noted.
“From here, the EU Delegation will support the Ghanaian authorities and civil society in efforts to implement the recommendations,” Mr Nart stated.