After putting off its second batch of primaries to elect parliamentary candidates, the governing New Patriotic Party, is set to hold its presidential and parliamentary primaries on June 20.
The party was originally scheduled to elect its candidate on April 25, but suspend it indefinitely because of a ban on social gathering. President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the restrictions on March 15, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.
The plan was to use the primaries to elect parliamentary candidates in constituencies where it has sitting MPs, ahead of the 2020 general elections.
The party has 169 out of 275 seats in Parliament, forming the majority.
But with 11 days to the primaries, the party suspended the primaries on April 14.
However, with President Akufo-Addo partially lifting the restrictions, the party appears to see a glimmer of hope for the primaries.
At a Steering Committee meeting held on Monday, the party agreed to hold the election in electoral areas rather than at the constituency level in order to ensure social distancing.
The committee is expected to draw up modalities for the polls and also make final decisions on the various appeals it had received from some disqualified and disgruntled aspirants.
In September 2019, the NPP conducted parliamentary primaries in 100 constituencies, where it has no sitting MPs, as part of preparations for the 2020 general elections.
Termed “orphan constituencies”, these are areas where the party lost the 2016 Parliamentary Elections to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and, therefore, has no sitting Members of Parliament on the party’s side in Parliament.
With social distancing a major headache for the country, the party is also considering e-voting in the upcoming primaries.
Meanwhile, The EC, on June 2, started a two-day pilot exercise to replace the voters’ register. Some opposition parties—the National Democratic Congress and the Progressive People Party — have accused the commission of using old biometric equipment, instead of its newly acquired ones, for a test run.