IEA begins talks with political parties on Presidential Debate

The Institute of Economic Affairs [IEA] has begun consultation with the various political parties on its Presidential Debate, a day after it received backlash for sidelining them in the choosing of the date.

The IEA on Tuesday launched and fixed September for the presidential debate but that was met with criticisms from some of the political parties on various grounds, including claims that the parties were not consulted on the date.

National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress, Kofi Adams said on TV3’s News @10 Wednesday that no institution has approached the party over the presidential debate which he said was not the best because the various parties have their own timetable of events.

He said the IEA per its history in organising the presidential series appears to be deceiving itself that political parties will be willing to participate.

“If they feel that they can behave like headmaster, they will find it difficult to assemble the students,” he said, adding  the IEA is not practising the ideals of a civil society organization as it is.

Date only tentative

But the Executive Director of the IEA, Jean Mensah, has expressed surprised at the commentary by the various political parties arising out of its launch and the date fixed for the debate.

She told TV3 that the September date announced was just a proposal for consideration by the political parties and not cast in stone. “The practice has been, once we launch the programme, we then start to engage the parties.

“Since yesterday we started sending out letters and the information kit to the parties; the candidates, to generally inform them about the plans and to kick-start discussions. So that’s how we’ve done it over the years and nothing has changed,” she said.

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The Director explained that the September date is tentative and something for them and the parties to work around it.  “We’re not forcing or fixing specific date and so on. It’s collaboration and you do work around it. We don’t have much time before the elections,” she said.