An Associate Professor at the University of Ghana, says political parties that disappear and resurface during election periods are wasting space on the ballot sheet.
Prof. Ransford Gyampo said until the Electoral Commission rigidly enforce the country’s electoral laws, this trend will continue and Ghana may remain duopolistic for a long time.
“Particularly, when partisan realignment is rare in transitional democracies like Ghana,” he said.
His comments come shortly after the Electoral Commission cleared 12 out of 17 Presidential aspirants who filed to contest in the upcoming elections
The Senior Political Science Lecturer said the trend of more political parties qualifying yet only a few being the dominant faces of the country’s politics has become worrying.
He said a true multiparty democracy connotes the existence of more than two political parties, “with more or less equal political strength, such that in any major electoral contestation, it becomes difficult for only one party to win a clear majority of votes, without the support of other political parties.”
“If only one party can win an election without the support of any other political party, then we are not a true multiparty democracy,” he said.
“Until political parties in Ghana strive to achieve this, the clearance by the Electoral Commission of as many as 12 candidates to be on our ballot papers will not only create confusion in voter selection during voting, but would also amount to a waste of space on the ballot papers,” he added.
He added that, the space for electoral contestation in a true multiparty democracy can only be given to political parties that also functions in the inter-election period, as agents of interest aggregation, agents of interest articulation, agents of political socialization, agents of leadership grooming, agents for shaping the political destinies and socio-economic well-being of Ghana, as well as agents that offer constructive criticisms that keeps regimes on their toes to do the right thing.
However, this has been missing because of the dominance of a few political parties in the country.
“Multiparty Democracy is expensive, I agree. But the space it provides for electoral contestation, must only be given to political parties worth their salt, not election machines.
“As we grow our democracy, our Electoral Commission must move beyond its narrow focus on elections, and activate its other regulatory functions of ensuring that only Political Parties exist and operate in the body politic, and not election machines,” he added.