2016 was not a good year for the NDC. Not only did the party lose the presidency; it also lost a significant number of seats in parliament. Today, Ghana’s legislature is dominated by 169 NPP MPs. The NDC, by contrast holds only 106 seats. That’s a 63 seat margin!
So, for this year’s elections we decided to look at what the shape of parliamentary map will look like and if the NPP’s 63 seat margin is here to stay or if the NDC can mount a comeback of historic proportion.
- Our parliamentary forecast model presents a map that has neither party set to win an outright majority without competition.
- Out of the 275 seats up for grabs, our model rates 54 of them as competitive. That’s almost 20% of all seats in parliament, leaving a total of 221 seats that are currently rated as “SAFE” or “LIKELY” for the NPP and NDC.
- The challenge for the NDC this year is the 221 SAFE and LIKELY seats are not evenly split in terms of support. The NPP is expected to win 117 of those seats. That’s a 13 seat gap heading into the election.
- Indeed, given the NPP’s 63 seat margin in the current parliament, the ruling party can afford to lose 31 of those seats and still hold onto a parliamentary majority. For the NDC, the challenge is to win at least 32 seats.
- So if the NDC is to mount a comeback, which regions in the country present the best opportunities?
- The obvious places to start are the Central and Greater Accra Regions. Both regions account for a total of 19 competitive seats. With the NPP already holding such a significant majority, it is to the NDC’s benefit to make those seats as competitive as possible. The NPP doesn’t have much more room to grow their majority in parliament. The NDC stands to gain from competition.
- Moving further north, the Northern and North East regions present another 12 competitive seats. Given the fact that the Northern region has historically been an NDC stronghold, the party should work hard to win as many of those seats as possible.
- Still, even if the NDC were to win all competitive seats in the four regions mentioned above, the party will still be 1 seat short of a majority.
- So where could this 1 additional seat come from? Bono East, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West and Western North are all NDC strongholds that boast a combined 12 competitive seats.
- Obviously, what I’ve presented here is a hypothetical best case scenario. In reality, the party is not likely to win all competitive seats in Greater Accra, Central, Northern and North East. It is on the party’s leadership then to craft a winning message and a policy platform that can do the job of flipping over 32 seats. Talk about a tall order!