PARLIAMENT HAS started the process to amend portions of the 1992 Constitution to give legal backing to the change in the date of the impending General Election from December 7 to November 7, 2016.
The amendment would also seek to make the first Monday of November of an election year, the tentative national date for general election. The proposed date for this year’s general election, also falls on a Monday.
This Bill, tabled before the House at the plenary, would amend Article 112 of the 1992 Constitution to give constitutional backing to the change of the date for parliamentary elections.
Dr. Dominic Ayine, the Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, who is also the MP for Bolgatanga East, tabled the Bill for the first reading.
The Constitution Amendment Bill 2016 has already been published twice in the Gazette, with the second publication having been made at least three months after the first.
At least 10 days had passed after the second publication, hence the laying of the Bill in Parliament.
The Speaker, referring the Bill to the Council of State, said he had done all the necessary checks and he was sure the Bill was ready to be presented for the first reading.
In accordance with article 291 (2), the Speaker shall, after the first reading of the Bill in Parliament; refer it to the Council of State for consideration and advice and the Council of State shall render advice on the bill within 30 days after receiving it.
“I have done the necessary checks and this requirements of notice (article 291 (a)) have been complied with and it is my responsibility in terms of the constitution to refer the bill to the Council of State and I so refer,” he said.
The Bill is to amend article 112(4) of the Constitution to make provision for Parliamentary Elections to be held well ahead of the expiration of the tenure of Parliament to ensure an effective and smooth transition.
Currently, the dates set in respect of the conduct of both Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country is the 7th day of December, while the swearing-in of the President takes place on the 7th day of January in the ensuing year.
However, the one month period for the transition of one government to the other, has over the years proved insufficient for a smooth transition, particularly, in instances where there is a run-off as was the case in 2000 and 2008.
One of the recommendations made by the Electoral Reform Committee after the election petition in 2013 was a change in the date for the conduct of general election from 7th December to the first Monday of November, in an election year in order to have elections on a specific day, instead of having elections on a specific date.