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General News of Sunday, 24 July 2016


Poll date vote seemed ‘partisan’ - Franklin Oduro

It appeared Members of Parliament (MPs), who voted in a secret ballot on the Constitutional Amendment Bill that would have paved the way for this year’s elections to be held on the first Monday of November of every election year instead of the usual December 7 date, voted on partisan lines given their posture and body language, Dr Franklin Oduro, Head of Research and Programmes and Deputy Director-Ghana at the Centre for Democratic Development, has said.

Last week, 125 MPs voted for the bill whereas 95 voted against it. The majority failed to secure the two-thirds of votes needed to get the bill passed.

There have been concerns that since the proposed date was a national issue, the MPs could have passed the bill without any challenge.

Dr Oduro, speaking on TV3 on Saturday July 23, said: “The pattern of parliamentary debate that we have seen in this country suggests and supports the notion that probably the [voting] was on partisan lines and, so, let us take it on face value that the majority party voted for it and the minority voted against.”

He added: “Assuming that is the case, it raises the question in terms of: ‘To what extent do parliamentarians vote – according to their own conscience or based on what the party leadership wanted them to vote for?’ Some of these arguments, we can only make them on assumptions and speculations because we are not in the minds of the MPs who voted, but it does appear it was essentially voted on party lines.”