Ghana’s parliament has rejected the proposed amendment which sought to change the current voting date from December 7 to the first Monday of November in every election year.
The country’s legislators failed to reach a consensus at its sitting on the bill Thursday, July 21, forcing the parliamentarians to decide through secret balloting. A total of 125 parliamentarians voted in favour (YES) of the bill while 95 voted against (NO).
Notwithstanding, the majority vote did not meet the 184 votes needed by the House to change the non entrenched article of the 1992 constitution.
Prior to the voting, the minority had stated quite categorically that they had concerns about the Electoral Commissions preparedness to organise a successful election on the proposed November 7 date hence their decision to vote against it.
The two thirds majority votes needed out of the 275 member parliament is 184 votes. The total number of members in the house at the time of voting was 220 with 125 voting in favour and 95 against.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong was in parliament for the reading of the amendment and also to canvass for votes in favour of the amendment. Her efforts seem not to have yielded results looking at the results.
The proposal for a change in Ghana’s voting date from December 7 to November 7 became necessary following the 2000 and 2008 experience where Ghana had to go for a run off after voting on December 7 in both years.
After the run off there was less than a month for the outgoing administration to hand over to the incoming government. The transition period was too short and did not give enough time for proper scrutiny and handing over.
As part of the electoral reforms recommended by the Supreme Court after the election petition in 2012, a committee, made up of electoral commission officers was set up to look into the proposal for the required steps to be taken in effecting the change.
A report was submitted, parliaments select committee on legal and constitutional affairs reviewed the report and the final step was for parliament to vote for or against the amendment.
The latter seems to have taken dominated.
By Martin Asiedu-Dartey|3news.com|Ghana