Vice Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs George Loh has expressed confidence parliament will be able to ratify a proposed amendment to Article 112 of the Constitution which seeks to bring forward the election date from 7 December to the first Monday of November of every election year.
The bill, which was presented in parliament Tuesday June 28 by Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice Dr Dominic Ayine, has been referred to the Council of State for consideration and advice in accordance with provisions in the Constitution.
Speaking to Class News, Mr Loh said the amendments could be carried through if two-thirds of the MPs ratify it. With the majority not forming the required number, he was optimistic members of the minority would support it once it comes back to parliament after 30 days.
“The Speaker has referred it to the Council of State. As he rightly pointed out, they have 30 days within which to revert it to us. So we will be waiting for the Council of State to finish their work and revert the bill to parliament and then kick in the parliamentary processes. When it comes back here, it will be referred to the appropriate committee. The committee will look through, write its report and present its report with its normal resolutions. When that has been done, then we go through consideration,” he told parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan.
“Then once all the readings have been done, we now pass it as a house. …When the instrument comes to parliament it becomes the property of parliament and like all constitutional amendments and bills, parliament can decide to turn it upside down. … Already, I am getting a sense, even from members, as I speak to them, that some people have started questioning whether the first Monday of November is OK. ‘Why not Saturday?’ ‘Why not a Friday?’ All those things, I am sure, will play out.
“People may want to find out what went into that. So, basically, those are the things that may change. I don’t see a change in anyway. Even the voting alone that requires two-thirds, it is enough for us to know that this matter is being done by consensus and that is what we will be aiming at.”
According to Mr Loh, the minority in parliament agrees to the change of the election date, which will benefit all parties and save politicians cost.
“After sampling some few views, I think that most members [welcome] the November date so I am hopeful that we will pass it by consensus. I have spoken to some of my brothers in the minority and they think that it’s useful for all parties. Aside the transitional conveniences and issues like that, it also saves members cost because that reduces your campaigning by one month and that is a lot of money for somebody going on a campaign,” the lawmaker noted.