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Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kojo Asante, has said the Electoral Commission (EC) may need a contingency plan for the December general elections as uncertainties about the coronavirus pandemic disrupt the country’s election timetable.

 Speaking on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, on Wednesday, Dr Asante said with the recent extension of the ban on social gathering, the EC is only likely to start the planned biometric voter registration exercise after May, however, the anticipated three months that the process is estimated to span could be exceeded as a result of existing Covid-19 safety protocols.

“If we are not able to start [the registration] in May and we have to start in June, then for me we have to consider alternatives,” he said on the late-night show, explaining that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to narrow the time frame for completing the new voter registration exercise.

The EC has been compelled to indefinitely suspend the compilation of a new voters’ register which was scheduled to begin on April 18, 2020.

Although the EC has said it is collaborating with health experts and other stakeholders to decide on a more favourable date depending on the prevalence rate of the virus, Dr Asante said the EC must announce an alternative to compile a new electoral roll.

But also speaking on the current affairs programme, EC’s Director of Elections, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, said the EC was committed to delivering a credible 2020 presidential and parliamentary election, and the only way it can do that was to compile a new register.

New voter register controversy

The biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), however, has been leading a front of opposition parties who are against the compilation.

The coalition says there is no need for a new register and all the EC needs to do is to update the current one.

The EC, however, insists the Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) and the entire Voter Management Solution must be changed as they are at the end of life.

Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution gives the power of compiling voters’ register to the EC solely.

“The Electoral Commission shall have the following functions – (a) to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law.”

The NDC has, however, sued the EC over the new register, arguing that that Article 45 of the Constitution only gives the EC the power to compile the register once and revise it thereof.

Watch the full show below.