Published on 21 Nov, 2020.
Political power has been juggled between the two major political parties; New patriotic party and National democratic Congress since the commencement of the 4th republic. Though there has been sections of the populace who have yearned for a third force, the performance of these smaller parties has been declining. They have stood no chance in the presidential race, albeit they have been able to snatch some seats in parliament since 1992 until the 2016 election.
With the current bi partisan parliament and the current political atmosphere, it will be close to impossible for a third party to grab a seat in the 2020 election.
On the presidential front, the performance of these third parties have been declining and though there is very little hope for any of them to be president, their performance has a bearing on the elections. However negligible, the electoral fortunes of these third parties have sometimes contributed to a ‘no clear winner situation’ hence a run-off. In the 2000 general election for instance, the two major parties secured 48.17% and 44.54%. The smaller parties had a combined percentage of 6.7%. These votes could have gotten any of the two parties past the 50% +1 threshold and would have prevented a runoff. Just like the 2000 general election, the 2008 election was no different. This time, though the NPP led in in the first round, they lost in the runoff after the smaller parties came together to throw their weight behind the late president Mills to out poll the NPP’s, Nana Addo.
The 2020 general election scheduled for 7th December, is unique in many ways, one of which is the unprecedented number of candidates on the ballot since independence. The ballot has three female candidates, which is also the highest since independence. Among the 12 candidates and 11 political parties, is 1 independent candidate, 3 first time political parties and 6 first time candidates. With a keen contest among the two main parties, the performance of these smaller parties might decide whether there will be a run off or not.
With the way their combined performance in the past elections has been low, the real “third force” in this election is likely to be ‘rejected ballots’.
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