Voting is currently underway in Parliament to decide whether to change the election date from December to November.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016 which will change the date of elections from December 7, to the first Monday of November in election years has been laid in Parliament.
The move is in accordance with Standing Orders 110 which states that “There shall be a secret voting in the House in respect of (a) a Bill for an Act of Parliament to amend any provision of the constitution.
Article 104 (4) of the Constitution also states that “Where Parliament is considering , or where the voting is in relation to the electionor removal of any person under this constitution or under any other law, voting shall be in secret.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, who moved the motion for the Second Reading of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill on the floor of the House canvassed support for the passage of the Bill.
The AG on the floor of Parliament argued that, changing the dates will ease the stress in government transitions by providing enough time.
“One of the main advantages is that, holding election in November will allow for sufficient time between an election and the handing over of power to an incoming government. This important to ensure adequate preparation and a smooth transition and eliminate situations where former Ministers of State are recalled to provide information to an incoming government on matters of state.”
“In addition to this Mr. Speaker , having an election on the predetermined date of the week also avoids the inconvenience associated with some days of the week such as Fridays and Sundays …Furthermore having an election on a day following a weekend also allows ample time for preparation by the Electoral Commission by way of transportation and distribution of election materials and makes it convenient for the electorates who need to travel to their various constituencies to cast their votes to do so.”
She hence urged the House to pass the Bill in order “assist in attaining the intended objective…to strengthen the electoral process and advance our democracy.”
The Minority has said in principle, it supports the amendment but it is convinced that the EC is not ready looking at its financial standing and other considerations, the electoral body is not ready to conduct this year’s election in November.
But the Majority caucus which is in full support of the amendment insist the EC is ready for the elections as it has received enough funding from the government which makes the EC equipped to conduct a credible election.
The ballot has an indication I, indicating yes and NO for rejection of the amendment.