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General News of Friday, 22 July 2016


Five MPs from majority side voted against Nov 7 polls

Ghana Ghana

It has emerged that five Members of Parliament from the Majority side voted against the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was seeking to change to the date of voting from December 7 to the first Monday of November in an election year.

Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who made this disclosure on the floor of Parliament Friday said before and during the secret ballot to decide on the Bill, his Members were 90 and was very sure each voted against the proposed November 7 polls.

But to his uttermost surprise, they got additional five MPs from the Majority side who voted against the Bill.

This, he noted, sends a signal that not all the Members from the Majority side supported the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Parliament on Thursday went into a secret ballot to decide on the proposed November 7 polls that was being pursued by the Electoral Commission (EC) through the Attorney-General’s Department.

The House needed two-thirds majority of Members to vote for the proposed change in the election date.

At the end of the polls, 125 MPs voted in favour of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016 while 95 objected to it.

That means the Bill failed to secure the required two-thirds majority of Members to go through as the Constitution demands.

The polls followed a heated debate over the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by both sides of the House.

While the Majority side argued that the proposed November 7 polls if approved would pave way for enough time for the transition process in the event that there is a change in government, those on the Minority side argued that they support the Bill in principle but the preparedness of the Electoral Commission among others wasn’t too convincing to warrant their request.

The results of the polls were seen by many as a victory by the Minority side.

However, some political pundits have blamed the Minority for failing Ghana.

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu commenting on the issue told the Speaker that the impression shouldn’t be created that all the Majority Members were in support of the Bill and that five MPs from that side of the House voted NO against the proposed November 7 polls.

“It is important for the NOs to be 95. Mr. Speaker that is significant,” he noted.

Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho retorted “Are you correcting page 11 the 95 figure? Because I know that some Members came later on. So, I don’t know where you started your counting from. I don’t want you to create that impression on the floor of the House because 275 ballot papers were issued and at the end of the day 55 were not used. We checked all these things and if you add 125 to 95, the difference will be 55 out of the total number of 275 because those who cast their vote were 220. So, I don’t want us to create the impression that the figure … It depends on where you started counting from because people were coming and going.”

2nd deputy Majority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim who was not enthused about the pronouncement of the Minority Leader told the House that “at the beginning of the voting, it is true that they were 90. Later on, some members came in – the Hon. Adwoa Safo, Seth Acheampong, Joe Baidoo Ansah … they all came in. Mr. Speaker, the same thing happened on our side but Mr. Speaker, to be price, I was the polling agent. At the end of the voting, 28 Members from our side with their names with me didn’t come. So, if we are 153 and we have 123 Ayes and 28 Members didn’t come, when you add 28 to 125, you will have 153 and that is exactly what happened yesterday. The names are there and if anybody wants, I can release them.”

However, the Speaker who didn’t want the matter to be dragged on said once the results have been captured in the Votes and Proceedings of the House, there was nothing to complain about.

“I announced it and nobody raised an issue and that is what has been captured in the Votes and Proceedings. The Ayes 125 and Neys 95. As for those who were jubilating after the results that is their own problem because the results were not about majority and minority.”

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