The government on Tuesday laid a bill in Parliament to allow political parties to sponsor candidates for district assembly elections.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 is to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution on the sponsorship of candidates for public office.

Article 55 (3) stipulates that “Subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to district assemblies or lower local government units.”

A Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, presented the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo.

In his remarks after the bill had been laid, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, said per the constitutional provision, the bill would have to go through a referendum.

He said 40 per cent of voters should participate in the referendum and 75 per cent should vote in favour of the amendment for it to be deemed accepted.

Election of MMDCEs

It would be recalled that on February 20, 2019, the government laid another bill in Parliament to allow for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the country.

That bill was to amend Article 243 (1) of the Constitution to provide for a district chief executive to be elected by universal adult suffrage within a district.

Its approval into law will end the current constitutional arrangement which empowers the President to appoint MMDCEs.

Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that: “There shall be a District Chief Executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.”

Referral

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Oquaye, referred the bill to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.

After its deliberations, the committee will recommend to the House to either pass the bill into law or reject it.

The decision to have election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) elected on political basis was one of the key campaign promises of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.



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