Ghana's presidential election faces delay

Uncertainty over Ghana election date after names deleted from register.

Ghana's presidential election could be delayed by a month due to wrangling over voter registration, according to the country's electoral body.

The commission had scheduled the polls for 7 November, one month earlier than the customary December date, pending approval by parliament. However the process to bring the election date forward has been held up by bureaucratic delays and parliament has only recently begun to deliberate the proposed date change.

The electoral body and the parliament both blame each other for holding up the legislation, while the Electoral Commission of Ghana has admitted that the nationwide election could now take place on either date.

The confusion over the election date comes after the Supreme Court ordered the removal of 56,000 names from the electoral register after individuals used national health insurance scheme cards as proof of identity.

The courts stepped in after Ghana's opposition alleged possible electoral fraud over concerns that foreigners' names might have been added to the register, as holders of health insurance cards are noy necessarily Ghanaian citizens.

Nano Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is seeking to unseat incumbent president John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Following the last election in December 2012, Akufo-Addo contested the results, claiming electoral fraud, after narrowly losing out to Mahama. However the Supreme Court dimissed the challenge by the NPP and upheld the election results.

In Ghana, the president is elected using the two-round system, while the 275 members of parliament are elected in single-member constituencies using first-past-the-post voting.