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General News of Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Minority could have rejected 2022 budget with 137 MPs – Lawyer explains

Lawyer Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee

The Minority in Parliament refused to partake in a Budget approval process

The Majority however went ahead to pass it

A lawyer has explained why they could have stayed and still rejected it


The Minority in Parliament could have participated in proceedings in Parliament relative to the second vote on the 2022 budget and still rejected its passage by the House.

This is the position of the law as explained by lawyer Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee. Commenting on the recission of an earlier rejection of the budget and subsequent approval on November 30, 2021, the lawyer explained that in case of a tie in voting, a motion is considered as lost.

A major issue of contention during the vote was the mode used to achieve a majority of MPs before the vote of recission and approval of the budget was taken.

Presiding Speaker and MP for Bekwai, Joe Osei Owusu despite being Speaker was counted in his capacity as MP making the number in the house 138, the 137 Minority MPs stayed away from the process over disagreements they had with concessions made by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.

“In terms of the vote, excluding the vote of the Speaker, we have 137 votes and 0 votes for the others. But in terms of quorum, if we had 138 MPs for the other side, it means that requirement would have been met."

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On the Speaker having been counted but not voting, she said: ”the deputy Speaker is a Member of Parliament. He is part of all the Members of Parliament. He was present and he is a Member of Parliament so his constituency was present at the time,” adding that "he could contribute to the quorum but for purposes of voting, he was not entitled to vote."

She continued that because the rules require a majority to pass, “assuming that the Minority had all their numbers, then we would have had 137 against 137 which is a tie and the Constitution says that if there is a tie, it means that the majority, in this case, would have lost that vote. So the motion for recission would have been lost.”

In responding to her view on the Speaker being counted, Minority Chief Whip Mubarak Muntaka disagreed stating that the Standing Orders of Parliament stated that the quorum (half of the members) applied to ‘Members Present and Voting’ stressing that the deputy Speaker despite being present was not voting.

Muntaka also revealed that the Majority had an elaborate plan to push through their will come what may, alleging that among others, the presiding Speaker was going to “go blind” when they wanted to raise any objection hence their decision to stay out of the proceedings.