Election date yet to get legal backing
The vice chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Committee of Parliament, George Loh, has disclosed that the constitutional instrument that will legitimise the proposed general elections date is yet to be brought before Parliament.
The Electoral Commission has proposed November 7th for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held, as part of proposals for electoral reforms.
The Commission is therefore expected to prepare the necessary constitutional instrument (CI) for presentation to Parliament, which will enable it change the date of elections from the usual December 7 to November 7.
However, given that the country has barely 9 months to the general elections, the parties involved are yet to submit such instruments to the legislature for endorsement or amendment.
According to George Loh, the instrument must be laid before Parliament and then: “Parliament will go through the necessary motions, and once Parliament does its work it will be referred to the Executive and signed into a law. It is not a very laborious process, but there may be timelines that need to be met”.
He stated: “Looking at the timetable before us, we have quite a difficult period ahead of us. But I am confident all committees are up to the task, and I am sure we will work very hard to ensure that we achieve it”.
He expressed confidence that the process will not be delayed, given that people have raised concerns over the seeming delay.
“We have been consistent. Once the Electoral Commission has started talking about November 7th, and indeed it has come up with a proposed programme, it’s an election timetable. Whatever it takes to get November 7 approved, I am confident we will do that,” he said.
Legislative Instruments (LI) normally take 21 Parliamentary days to mature.
Ghana’s first Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 1992 were held on separate days in November and December respectively.
The 1996 Presidential and Parliamentary elections and subsequent elections have been held on December 7th, but there have been suggestions that the process does not make ample room for the organisation of a run-offs and the subsequent handover on January 7th.