n Journal of African Elections - Ghanaian elections and conflict management : interrogating the absolute majority electoral system




In Ghana a president is elected by an absolute majority (50% plus one vote) of the total valid votes cast in the whole country. From a conflict-management perspective this electoral system has two major flaws which can, potentially, jeopardise the fragile electoral peace that has endured since the 1992 elections. First, it gives extra and strong incentive to the two dominant parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to engage in crude ethnic politics to win even when they have lost in the majority of the ten regions. Second, by turning the whole country into a single-member constituency, regardless of its ethno-regional divisions, the votes of minority regions could become insignificant in electing the president, a dynamic that can lead to political exclusion and, subsequently, conflict. To remedy this situation and to promote conciliatory politics in the increasingly acrimonious political climate of Ghana, this paper argues, a double-winning system should be introduced which requires that, in addition to the 50 per cent-plus-one vote a candidate must win in five regions with a simple majority of valid votes cast.


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