Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PNC to remain neutral in election 2008 run-off

With just two weeks to the December 28 run-off, the People's National Convention (PNC) has decided to remain neutral and not support any of the political parties contesting the polls, as Tuesday crucial National Executive Committee meeting to consider proposals presented by the contestants hit a stalemate.
     Even before the meeting commenced at the party's headquarters in Accra, party stalwarts appeared passionately divided over which of the two competing presidential candidates to throw their weight behind, with some jostling and heckling each other, whilst others threw verbal salvos at those unyielding to their entrenched positions.
     While those who favoured an alliance with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) argued that the party's (PNC) interest would be best served by the NPP, reminding their members of which political group was responsible for the PNC's current state, those routing for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) contended that it was politically imprudent to back a party the PNC was trying to unseat- referring to the NPP.
     Others, who seemed indifferent to the commotion, simply remarked that the party (PNC) should also assume a position of neutrality like the Convention People's Party did.
     But after hours of heated debates on the proposals made by both the NPP and the NDC, the NEC decided to subject the deliberation to a vote, ending with a tie as both the NPP and NDC garnered 19 votes each from the party executives.
     "Given the indeterminate nature of the vote, NEC has decided that it is unable to support any of the two parties", a statement issued moments later by the National Chairman Ahmed Ramadan said.
     Alhaji Ramadan later told the media the party needed to stay neutral "because cracks would develop in the party if we declared a stand for a particular party," judging from the highly polarized atmosphere at the meeting.
     "We need to keep our party intact," he said.
     Even after that decision to remain neutral was taken, pockets of squabbles ensued as some executives accused others of accepting inducements from the contesting parties, with others indicating in uncertain terms that the decision by the NEC would not be binding on them.
     One remarked "What do they mean? Nobody will tell me who I should short I will vote for the party of my choice and it is my right."
    Bernard Monarh, General Secretary of the party told the GNA that both contesting parties "did not meet the expectation of the NEC", leading to the deadlock.
    "However, our party and its leadership are committed to deepening democracy and we shall meet and consider reconvening another NEC to discuss further," he said.
    Asked what the nature of the proposals or offers made by the NPP and NDC were, Monarh said "They were talking about collaborating, the sharing of positions like ministerial, ambassadorial, district chief executives and the likes".
     "They are talking about sharing booty, but the PNC is not about sharing booty but about policies that would enhance the living standards of the people."
     "So they did not meet our expectation," he said.
     The meeting was also attended by the party's presidential candidate, Edward Mahama, who declined to vote on the issue.
     The Democratic Freedom Party yesterday pledged its support to the NPP in the run-off. But the CPP has decided to also remain neutral, asking its supporters to vote according to their compunction.

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