President John Evans Atta Mills Thursday declared his commitment to state funding of political parties, saying it is a relevant measure to enhance the country’s multi-party democracy.

The President, who gave his commitment after Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, presented a memorandum for a state funding of political parties to him during a courtesy call at the Castle in Accra, was of the view that such a funding would effectively address the many financial and operational challenges confronting the political parties.

He is said to have assured the EC chairman at a closed door meeting of his readiness to support any framework that would significantly improve the funding of Political parties in the country.

Dr. Afari Gyan, who was at the Castle with his two deputies, David Kanga, in charge of Finance and Administration and Sarfo Kantanga, in charge of Operations, paid their first visit to hold talks with the President after successfully supervising last December’s general election.

The visit, which was at the request of the EC, provided the platform for discussions between the President and the EC delegation towards improving the electoral structures in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Mahama Ayariga, briefing newsmen after the meeting, said President Mills commended the leadership of the EC for presenting the memorandum, which provides a comprehensive structure for state funding of parties, but noted that it would have to be a subject of constitutional review.

President Mills; he indicated, thanked the EC for its contribution to a successful election last December and gave the assurance that government would provide the necessary assistance to enhance its operation.

Giving some details in the memorandum, he said, it proposed the sources of financing for a special fund for the parties, eligibility criteria and formulae for the allocation of funds to the parties.

According to the EC’s proposal, the funding could be sourced from government, corporate bodies, the private sector, individuals and other contributions that would not compromise the integrity of the country’s electoral process.

In addition, he said, the proposals were not solely from the EC, but based on ideas drawn from consensus building, discussions among civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders.

After making a case for the political parties, Mr. Ayariga said the EC boss also called for. assistance for general improvement in the operation of the EC and the welfare of the personnel.

He said other issues that were relevant to the development of the country’s electoral system featured in the discussions.

Among the issues was the upcoming district assembly election for which Dr. Afari Gyan urged the government to institute measures to ensure that the district assembly system functioned properly to support the country’s decentralization.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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