Reforming Ghana’s Electoral Process: Lessons and the Way Forward

  •  Emmanuel Debrah    


This article reviews the electoral reform initiative which began in 1994. It notes that electoral reforms in Ghana have been at the elite’s instigation. Hence they have coalesced around elite bargaining and consensus. In 1994, the Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC) was inaugurated to fashion new rules of the game to direct the electoral process. The reform settled the elite disagreements over the future of Ghana’s democracy, which generated mass and elite confidence in the electoral process. Yet, the reform has failed to address new challenges including fair representation of the people in the legislature/Parliament and uneven playing field caused by the exploitation of incumbency in the use of state resource for campaigns thereby stifling effective inter-party competition. Furthermore, the politics of winner-takes-all has worked to obstruct the capacity of the smaller parties to participate in politics in a fledgling democracy in Africa where inclusive participation is highly recommended. A re-apportionment of constituency boundaries to reflect fair representation and review of the party financing laws to provide opportunity for opposition parties to access resources would deepen Ghana’s multiparty politics and democracy.

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