The 17 presidential hopefuls who submitted their nomination forms to the Electoral Commission (EC) last week are all upbeat about their chances of sailing through the eligibility criteria required for them to contest this year’s presidential election.

The eligibility of the flag bearers of 15 political parties and the two independent candidates will, however, depend on the outcome of the vetting of their declaration forms by the election management body, which is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to ensure strict compliance with the rules of engagement.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in separate interactions, some of the aspirants and sources close to them were cock sure that their nominations would go through successfully to enable them to prosecute their campaigns to win the 2016 presidential election.

Some political observers have observed that if was normal for the presidential candidates to be confident about their chances but others dismissed the confidence levels of most of the candidate arguing that since 1992 only two political parties – NDC and NPP have dominated the political landscape.

They said this year’s general election would still be a two horse race between the NPP and the NDC.

General elections will be held in Ghana on Dec 7 to elect a President and Members of Parliament. They had originally been scheduled for Nov 7 but the date was rejected by Parliament.

The 15 flag bearers of political parties and their running mates as they filed at the EC are: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamadu Bawumia of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); Akwasi Addai and Yaw Brogya Mensah of the United Progressive Party (UPP); Nana Agyenim Boateng and David Bunya of the United Freedom Party (UFP) and Hassan Ayariga and Emmanuel Carl Bartels of the All People’s Congress (APC).

Others are John Dramani Mahama and Kwesi Amissah-Arthur of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC); Kofi Apaloo and Margaret Obrine Sarfo of the Independent People’s Party (IPP); Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (whose running mate is yet to be introduced) of the National Democratic Party (NDP); Akua Donkor (yet to introduce her running mate) of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP); Kwabena Adjei and Kwame Manu Sarpong of the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD) and Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom and Brigitte Dzogbenuku of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

The rest are Richard Nixon Tetteh (yet to introduce running mate) of the Unity Development System Party (UDSP); Dr Henry Lartey and John Amekah of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP); Ivor Greenstreet and Gabby Nsiah Nketiah, Proprietor of Ganiva Batteries, of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Edward Mahama and Emmanuel Anyidoho of the People’s National Convention (PNC) and Thomas Ward-Brew and Isaac Nii Otoo Otoo of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP).

The two independent presidential aspirants and their running mates are Jacob Osei Yeboah (running mate yet be introduced) and Kwame Asiedu Walker and Nana Esi Koree, also known as Lady Tamara.

Eligibility criteria

Among the eligibility criteria are the need for the aspirants to take the contents of the statutory declarations seriously and understand the full legal implications of admissions made under oath.

They are also to take note of the requirement under the law to ensure that their tax obligations are met in full or make satisfactory arrangements in respect of tax obligations with the appropriate tax authority.

The EC has also reminded the aspirants to take note of the requirement to declare their assets to the Auditor-General in order to meet the eligibility criteria.

Again, they are supposed to write their names, without titles, their age, sex, political party or independent candidate, as the case may be, in block letters at the back of their photographs.

The EC also said the pictures should show both ears, be on a red background and be postcard size.

Already, the issue of the legality of the filing fee is before the law court and the matter is expected to be heard soon.

Otherwise, the EC added that “nomination forms should also be submitted with the requisite filing fees in bankers’ draft and that the commission will not accept cheques or cash”.

But because of the law suit, the EC did not collect the filing fee, except that of the PPP.

Per the EC’s instructions, any infraction on the given criteria will amount to ineligibility on the part of an aspirant.

EC Chair

The EC will this week announce the names of those eligible to contest the presidential and parliamentary elections after the two-day filing of nominations ended last Friday.

Barring any disqualifications, 17 candidates are billed to appear on the ballot paper for the presidential election.

The Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, addressing the press after the close of nominations last Friday, said the submission of the forms to the EC was not automatic qualification for the aspirants to contest the December polls.

She said the commission would vet all the nominations to satisfy itself that all the eligibility criteria had been adhered to by all the political parties and the aspirants.

In the 2012 elections, John Mahama of the NDC polled 5,574,761, representing 50.7 per cent while Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP had 5,248,898 votes, which constituted 47.74 per cent.

The NPP, after the results of the 2012 presidential election had been declared, filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging the outcome of the election.

The highest court of the land ultimately ruled in favour of the NDC and declared John Mahama as having won the election.