Persons aspiring to contest the presidential slot of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have 3rd to 10th of May to pick nomination forms, the National Executive Committee of the party has announced.

At a press conference in Accra Monday morning addressed by the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the party said contestants are also expected to submit the forms before 5pm, June 1, 2011.

The party used the press conference to declare the presidential campaign season opened.

Nomination forms will be available to aspirants from 3rd to 10th of May. Completed application forms, the party stated, should be submitted on or before 5pm June 1, 2011.

The congress is scheduled for 8 to 10 July, 2011 in Sunyani where the party’s presidential candidate for the 2012 elections would be elected.

After declaring the campaign season of the party opened, Mr Asiedu Nketiah said the NEC has henceforth debarred all executives from publicly supporting any candidate.

“No organ, institution, branch or structure of the party shall issue any public or press statement in support of any of the contestants.”

He said any party executive who goes against that would be sanctioned.

The party’s General Secretary outlined guidelines adopted by the NEC to ensure that aspirants and their supporters restrain themselves from acts that would impact negatively on the party come 2012.

The party warned aspirants and followers against resorting to the use of insinuation, abusive and intemperate language against their opponents, as well as avoiding a campaign of vilification and mudslinging.

He therefore advised contestants, supporters and agents to abide by the party’s code of conduct during and after the election as stipulated under Article 40.

Mr Asiedu Nketiah also assured the contestants that complaints brought before the party’s disciplinary committee would be dealt with “expeditiously”.

He noted that the party considers the processes leading to the congress as more important than the outcome, and would therefore “try as much as possible” and within “internationally recognized best democratic practices” to ensure transparency and provide a level playing field for all aspirants.

Therefore, he noted, all contestants shall have “equal and unfettered access to party structures” at all levels.

Aspirants would be vetted by a five-member committee between 7th and 8th of June.

Play the attached audio for what Mr Asiedu Nketiah said at the press conference curtsy Asempa FM

Story by Isaac Essel/