Ghana: NPP stops court suits as opposition wins

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Ghana’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), which made an un successful last minute bid to halt the declaration of results of the 2008 presidential election, is withdrawing two suits it has filed at the courts.

The decision came after it came under serious criticism from the public and some of its own senior members, who described the action as unncessary and uncalled for.

The NPP rushed to court on Thursday, a public holiday, with an ex-parte motion seeking an injunction to stop the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, from declaring the result of the presidential election at the end of voting on Friday in the last constituency, Tain, which could not vote with the rest of the country on 28 December.

But the court dealt the party a huge blow when it turned down the ex-parte motion and asked its lawyers to serve the EC and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) by the end of Friday for them to file their responses by Sunday morning.

The NPP’s lawyer, Atta Akyea then filed another writ to stop the vote form taking place in the Tain constituency that would see the winner of the 28 December presidential run off.

Now, he says, the NPP’s National Chairman Mr. Peter Mac Manu has instructed him to withdraw the cases from court, but these could be reactivated if the need arises.

Voting went on smoothly in Tain, even after the NPP boycotted the election with early results showing the NDC consolidating its gains that would make its candidate, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the next president to be sworn in on 7 January.

A former chairman of the NPP, Mr Bernard Joao da Rocha, condemned the court cases saying they were unnecessary because stalling the electoral process was completely unwarranted.

President John Agyekum Kufuor also issued a statement asking all stakeholders in the elections to yield to the decision of the EC.

He said any outstanding issues could be resolved using due process stressing the need to meet the constitutional requirement of handing over on 7 January.

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