As part of 34 electoral reform proposals put forward by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the opposition party is demanding that the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) should be given legal backing.
IPAC was introduced in 1994 as a major electoral reform aimed at ensuring trust between the EC and political parties.
Many experts believe because the mandate of IPAC has not been clearly defined by law, the EC decides what to do with decisions taken at IPAC meetings.
After consulting with stakeholders, the NDC put the recommendation at Number Six of its 34-point recommendations.
“IPAC should be backed by legislation through an amendment to the Electoral Commission Act, 1993, Act 451, which should spell out its composition and functions,” Ghana’s biggest opposition party stated.
According to the NDC, IPAC has served Ghana’s electoral system well but because it is informal, the EC tends to ignore some of its concerns or even to marginalise the committee.
As justification the NDC put forth the following:
• EC has demonstrated the usefulness of inputs of external bodies such as IPAC and the recently established Eminent Persons Advisory Group;
• Constitutional justification for external advisory bodies to independent constitutional institutions exist such as the Judicial Council for the independent Judiciary;
• The proposal was first made by the EC’s own Electoral Reforms Committee in 2015, adopted by the IPAC and accepted by the EC.
NDC’s proposal resonates with that of a Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee.
Prof Ayee also said IPAC should be institutionalised to enable it to play its role effectively as a major stakeholder in electoral reforms in Ghana.