n Journal of African Elections - The judiciary and democracy in Ghana’s fourth republic

Volume 17 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



Since the advent of multi-party elections in 1992, Ghana has successfully held six free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, including the peaceful alternation of power on three occasions. Despite this impressive record, transparent and peaceful elections are never a guaranteed outcome in Ghana. General elections in the country are highly competitive and tightly contested by the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and their support bases. The 2016 general elections season was a fierce fight marked by apparent attempts at fraud and corruption on the part of the Electoral Commission. Although there was a tense lead-up to the vote, the elections proceeded without incident, largely due to the actions of the Supreme Court. These Supreme Court rulings on electoral transparency and fairness during the 2016 elections continue a long history of judicial intervention in electoral disputes. Nearly three decades of judicial activism has effectively constrained the major political parties in their ongoing attempts to use fraud and corruption for gains at the polls. This study thus supports the early work of Ruti Teitel on judicial policymaking in transitional states by demonstrating how an activist Supreme Court has effectively preserved and advanced democratisation in the face of weak political institutions.

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