June 29, 2016

Parliament on Tuesday started the process to amend the date set out in the 1992 Constitution for the conduct of Ghana’s general elections.

This follows the laying of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on the floor of the House by the Deputy Attorney-General.

The Bill seeks 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.

It is also seeking to change the date for the conduct of Ghana’s general elections from December 7 to the first Monday of November in an election year.

The proposed new date fits into the Electoral Commission’s schedule for this year’s elections.

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, presiding over the sitting of the House referred the document to the Council of State for advice.

The Council of State has within 30 days upon receipt of the document to make their input and refer it back to Parliament for consideration and adoption.

Currently, the date set aside in respect of the conduct of both Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country is December 7 while swearing-in of the President takes place on January 7 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 election as was the case in 2000 and 2008.

It is believed that the new proposed date will address challenges associated with the conduct of the country’s general elections.

The deputy A-G is convinced that holding the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in November would allow for sufficient time between elections and the handing over of power to an incoming government.

He is also convinced that the proposed new date would ensure smooth transition of power and reduce acrimony as well as prevent the chaotic situation whereby former Ministers of State are recalled to provide information to the in-coming Government on matters of the State.