Tunisia candidate refuses to concede

Moncef Marzouki has refused to admit defeat in Tunisia’s first free presidential election after exit polls suggested Beji Caid Essebsi had won.

The caretaker president, a former exile, said his rival’s declaration of victory was “undemocratic”.

Mr Essebsi, 88, has been celebrating with supporters, telling them all Tunisians now need to “work together”, and promising to bring stability.

Critics say his success marks the return of a discredited establishment.

Official results are not expected until Monday evening. One exit poll gave Mr Essebsi 55.5%, with several others showing similar figures.

The election marks the last stage of Tunisia’s move to democracy, after the 2011 overthrow of President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali.

It is the first time Tunisians have been able vote freely for their president since independence from France in 1956.


Mr Marzouki, a 67-year-old human rights activist forced into exile by the Ben Ali government, said the election was too early to call.

“The announcement of victory is undemocratic and we should wait if we want to be a state that respects the rule of law,” he told supporters.

“What I want to tell you is that we are victorious, we are victorious , we are victorious. Tunisia has won and you have won. You have won for Tunisia, for democracy and for human rights.”

Mr Marzouki has been interim president since 2011 and is more popular in the conservative, poorer south.

He was thought likely to attract support from the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which has played a key role in Tunisian politics since the Arab Spring but did not field a candidate.

Coastal candidate

Mr Essebsi appeared on television after polls closed on Sunday, saying: “I dedicate my victory to the martyrs of Tunisia.”

“I thank Marzouki, and now we should work together without excluding anyone,” he added.

Supporters danced and let off fireworks outside the headquarters of Mr Essebsi’s secular-leaning Nidaa Tounes party.

Mr Essebsi held office under both deposed President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali and Tunisia’s first post-independence leader, Habib Bourguiba.

He led in the first round of voting last month with 39% of the vote. Mr Marzouki polled 33%.

He is popular in the wealthy, coastal regions, and based his appeal to voters on stability and experience.

Reduced role

Whoever wins faces restricted powers under a constitution passed earlier this year.

The president will be commander-in-chief of the armed forces but can appoint or sack senior officers only in consultation with the prime minister.

The president will also set foreign policy in consultation with the prime minister, represent the state and ratify treaties.

Tunisia boosted security for the elections and closed border posts with Libya, which has been plagued by unrest.

A group of at least three attackers targeted a polling station near the city of Kairouan on Sunday morning. Security forces say they killed one attacker and arrested three.

Source: BBC


NDC elects Alhaji Imoro Yakubu as candidate for Kumbungu by-election

The incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) has elected a former Member of Parliament (MP), Alhaji Imoro Yakubu Kakpagu, as candidate for the April 30 by-election to be held in the Kumbungu Constituency.

Alhaji Kakpagu polled 170 votes to win the primaries held over the weekend.

Alhaji Kakpagu’s votes were 86 more than his closest contender Dr Jacob Yakubu Mahama while Abubakari Mohammed and Hamza Adam Abdulai polled 14 and 12 votes respectively. Baba Ibrahim came last with nine votes.

The Kumbungu seat became vacant after it was abdicated by Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, who took up a new appointment as the Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.

Meanwhile, sources close to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) say the party will boycott the by-elections just like it did regarding the Akatsi South and Buem by-elections as a result of the petition some members of the party’s leadership has filed at the Supreme Court regarding results of the 2012 Elections



NDC candidate for Buem by-election to continue work of Kamel

Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah, National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for the Buem Constituency by-election, on Wednesday promised to continue from where the late Henry Ford Kamel, former Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, left off, if elected as MP.

“I first want to honour promises Mr Kamel made to our people, then I know his soul will rest in peace for him to bless me to be able to carry on with my plans for the area,” he said. 

Mr Ashiamah, who said this in an interview with the GNA in Ho, said he would use the first 100 days to take stock of the work of the late Kamel, who was also the Volta Regional Minister.

Mr Ashiamah said like the late Kamel, he would work to maintain the peace and unity to facilitate the development of the area.

He said: “I want to lead with love and integrity so I am trying to get everybody involved, especially my party people to continue the good works of the late Kamel”.

Mr Ashiamah said if voted to represent the people of Buem in Parliament, he would focus on improving education, sanitation, environment and health sectors.

Mr Ashiamah won the NDC primary last Sunday, to contest a by-election for the Buem constituency, scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

The by-election was occasioned by the sudden death of the late Kamel on Tuesday, December 25, 2012.

Source: GNA


NPP candidate files petition at High Court

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Ahafo Ano North in the Ashanti Region, Mr Richard Akuoko-Adiyia, has filed a petition at the Kumasi High Court challenging the declaration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Akwasi Adusei, as winner of the 2012 parliamentary election in the constituency.

This is the first legal challenge to the 2012 parliamentary elections to be mounted from the camp of the NPP.

Last Saturday, the NPP Communications Director, Nana Akomea, hinted on Joy FM that the party would challenge the parliamentary results in 38 constituencies alongside the presidential election, which is already before the Supreme Court.

Chief State Attorney in charge of the Ashanti Region, Mr William Kpobi, confirmed in an interview with the Daily Graphic Tuesday that his outfit had been served with the petition.

The respondents in the case are the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney General’s Department, Kumasi.

Mr Akuoko-Adiyia, through his lawyers, Owusu Bempah Law Chambers, is seeking a declaration that the irregularities practised by the EC officials who were in charge of elections in the constituency affected the authenticity of the elections and therefore rendered the outcome null and void.

The petitioner is also praying the court for any other reliefs that it would deem fit.

In his statement of claim, Mr Akuoko-Adiyia said the elections were regulated by the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 and the Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284).

Besides, C.I. 75, among other things, set the rules by which the elections were to be conducted.

According to the statement, to ensure free and fair elections, various pre-designed sheets were issued out by the EC to gather data for verification and authentication of results from each polling station where elections were held.

The returning officer in the constituency was to fill and sign the sheets which would be countersigned by candidates contesting the election or their agents.

“The purpose of the sheets was principally to serve as accounting and auditing mechanisms in order to ensure compliance with electoral rules and fairness to all the candidates,” the statement said.

It said the EC officials in the constituency in “flagrant disregard for the rules, regulations and guidelines governing the election, either by deliberate conduct or circumstances that can best be explained by them, did not properly account for ballots issued to various polling stations, thus occasioning a serious irregularity.”

The statement further indicated that 835 ballots were not accounted for in 17 polling stations in the constituency because of the widespread irregularities.

It said the elections were also held without biometric verification in three polling stations in contravention of electoral laws as contained in C.1. 75.

The irregularities, according to the statement, affected the authenticity and credibility of the declared results, which gave Mr Adusei 18,841 votes as against 18,418 by the petitioner.

Source: Daily Graphic