Parliamentary Chamber: Parliament


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  7 December 1996

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The 1996 parliamentary elections took place simultaneously with those for President of the Republic. In April, polling was announced by the Electoral Commission for December, and the exact date was later set on 30 July.

In the legislative races, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of President Jerry Rawlings was confronted by a divided opposition with no united alternative platform. These parties could be divided broadly into two main streams: the centre-left Nkrumahists, supporters of the socialist doctrine of Ghana's first President, Nkwame Nkrumah, and comprised of four parties with the common word "Convention" in their title; and the centre-right proponents of a market economy, led by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Economic issues were at the forefront of the campaign debate. The opposition criticised the extent to which the Government's policy in this sector was imposed "from outside", especially by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the introduction of a value added tax (VAT) on goods and services, while the NDC defended its comprehensive programme of economic reform and rural development. Altogether 780 candidates (including 725 party members, 55 independents and 57 women) were in the running. The NDC contested all 200 constituencies and the NPP 174, but the opposition competed head-to-head in some 80.

Polling procedures were monitored by thousands of Ghanaian and foreign observers, including missions from the UN, the Commonwealth, the USA and the OAU. Voter turnout was relatively high at 65%, and the monitors concluded that the elections had been conducted fairly. Final results gave the NDC 134 seats: the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to amend the Constitution. In the presidential race, Mr. Rawlings - Head of State since 1981, two years after seizing power in the military coup d'Etat - easily defeated his main rival, Mr. John Kufuor of the NPP.

Round no 1 (7 December 1996): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 9,200,000 (approx)
Voters 65% (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
National Democratic Congress (NDC) 134
New Patriotic Party (NPP) 60
People's Convention Party (PCP) 5
People's National Convention (PNC) 1

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Copyright 1996 Inter-Parliamentary Union