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General News of Saturday, 16 January 2021


Why Ghana’s 8th parliament is so different, unprecedented

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Ghana has had 7 parliaments before the recently inaugurated one, under the Fourth Republic. Although each parliament had its own peculiar characteristics, the constitution of this 8th parliament, considerably was fraught with rather intriguing situations.

Some of these dissimilarities are evident, especially comparing the immediate past house and this one.

So, what changed in the 8th parliament and how different is it from the 7th parliament?

Hung parliament

The word ‘hung’ has been argued about by members of both sides of the house, considering the close numbers involved. Both of the two largest parties in Ghana earned 137 votes each in the December 7 polls, with one independent member and results from two constituencies still limbo.

With this, it was obvious determining which side of the house will be majority or minority would not be an easy task.

It’s been a little over a week since this new house was inaugurated yet this is still indefinite.

The argument for the New Patriotic Caucus was that, the independent candidate had decided to join their side to vote and that, for them automatically translated a win for them.

This was massively opposed by members of the National Democratic Congress Caucus who believed that that singular factor is not substantial enough to determine which side is majority and minority considering the independent candidate can only join a particular caucus after both sides of the house are decided.

Speaker from NDC Caucus

Usually, selecting the speaker for a newly established parliament isn’t such a huge deal, considering whichever party has the bigger numbers from the parliamentary elections, automatically decides who from their camp will take the speakership position.

This time was a little different, with both sides having same numbers, there had to be a secret balloting to elect a speaker and this produced the candidate for speakership from the NDC caucus; Alban Bagbin. It is the first time the country has witnessed such an occurrence.

Independent candidate as 2nd speaker

The 1st and 2nd Deputy Speakers of parliament, per the dictates of the constitution, are to come from different sides of the house. Both representatives cannot be from the same side of the house. This everybody knew, and hence expected, that like in previous times, either someone from the NDC or NPP will occupy either positions.

Even he; Andrew Asiamah Amoako, Member of Parliament for Fomena, was taken by surprise when the house decided to give him the position of the 2nd Deputy Speaker.

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