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General News of Thursday, 5 June 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

EC can’t hold referendum on constitutional amendments – Group

Civil society groups, the Institute of Democratic Governance and the Civic Forum Initiative, are questioning the possibility of holding a referendum on the amendment of entrenched clauses in the 1992 constitution.

The civil society groups say the process is not transparent in its current form so rushing to hold a referendum will mean voters will decide without understanding the issues.

The Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) is working in collaboration with the Electoral Commission (EC) to hold a referendum on proposals for constitutional amendments this year.

But a statement issued by the Institute of Democratic Governance and the Civic Forum Initiative remarked:

“The Ghanaian public has had little or no opportunity to engage with and understand the work of the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC). Very few people therefore know and understand the actual issues on which the forthcoming referendum would be conducted. Yet, amendments have been proposed on thirty-four (34) entrenched clauses on which voters would be required to cast a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.”

The statement further noted that “opening up the process to inclusive or broad based participation will strengthen popular commitment to the amended Constitution’’.

It further observed, “This will uphold the spirit and of article 35 (6) (d) of the 1992 Constitution (Directive Principles of State Policy) which calls on the State to afford the people all possible opportunities to participate in decision making at all levels of national life.”

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