Consolidation Of Democracy In Ghana’s Fourth Republic: The Role Of The Electoral Commission

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University of Ghana


The consolidation of democracy requires the removal of contending threats to democracy whilst improving upon the successes achieved to a stage of high democratic performance. The failure of the Electoral Commission to enforce the constitutional provisions and electoral laws can reduce the quality of elections, cripple citizen’s participation, erode democratic cultures and creates avenues for electoral violence. Hence, the study aimed at the role the Electoral Commission (EC) plays in the consolidation of democracy in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. The study adopted a qualitative research design which allowed for the use of interviews to elicit expert opinions from 12, out of the 16 respondents sampled through a purposive sampling. The neo-institutional approach was utilized to explain the data generated from the study. The Electoral Commission of Ghana was found to have attained enviable feet of overseeing the conduct of elections that has successfully led to the alternation of power on three consecutive occasions. Thus, Ghana is deemed democratically consolidated, though the evidence is clear in the minimalist sense (electoral democracy). The study, however, found serious gaps in the discharge of the EC’s constitutionally mandated roles which could have a negative implication for Ghana’s electoral fortunes. They were: (1) selective enforcement of the Political Parties Laws, (2) bloated Voters Register with millions of minors and foreigners, and (3) ineffective voter education resulting in thousands of invalid votes. The study also found that informal institutions play a critical role in the slashing of the Commission’s budget and the lack of will to prosecute electoral offenders. Finally, the proliferation of political vigilante groups in the 2016 General Elections was found to be the creation of the Court with the drift being “elections are won at the polling stations”. The study recommended the need for a national database system, a legal department for the EC and the expansion of the IPAC to include election-related CSOs and the media. Additionally, the study suggested among others the effective ways the EC can improve its communications, the creation of election fund, and a total transfer of the voter education role the EC plays to the NCCE to aid in the further consolidation of Ghana’s democracy.


Thesis (MPhil)


Democracy, Ghana’s Fourth Republic, The Electoral Commission, Ghana, Elections