Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo Addo on Sunday announced that his government was canceling a publicized referendum seeking to politicize local level elections.
The referendum was scheduled for December 17 to seek the support of Ghanaians to back the election of local government officials along party lines.
But the campaign to politicize local level elections faced opposition in the past few weeks from a section of Ghanaians especially the opposition party, the National Democratic Congress.
The opposition party had campaigned for a NO vote on the referendum while the government and other groups have been pushing for a YES vote.
The government and those backing a YES vote needed at least 40 percent of eligible voters turning out to vote.
At least 75 percent must vote in favour of a YES campaign to succeed.
Considering the huge support the opposition has, it was highly probably that the referendum would have failed to get the needed vote if the government went ahead.
President Akufo Addo said in a national address that “In these circumstances, I am convinced that it will not serve the public interest to go ahead with the holding of the referendum on the 17th December even though I believe that a strong campaign for a Yes vote would have succeeded.”
The referendum had sparked controversy over the past weeks even among traditional leaders who feared their relevance at the local level of governance would be eroded with a YES vote.
The election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) had been a major campaign promise of Ghana’s President in 2016.
He and his party promised to ensure that there was a “direct election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).”
The President now wants a broader consultation on the issue.