Council of State submits report on Bill to change election day

The Council of State has presented its report on a new bill that seeks to amend some provisions of Ghana’s constitution relating to national elections in the country to Parliament.

The bill, if passed, will change the date of Ghana’s general elections from December 7, to the first Monday in November in subsequent election years.

Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, announced this on the floor of Parliament today[Monday].
He has subsequently referred the bill to the constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs Committee of the House for consideration and report.

“ I did not refer the bill to the appropriate committee on that day during the first reading in view of the pending advice from the Council of State. I now wish to inform you that I have received the advice from the Council of State. It is my duty now to refer the bill together with the advice from the Council of State to the committee on constitutional and legal affairs.

Honourable Members of Parliament I refer the constitutional amendment in 2016 together with the advice from the Council of State to the committee of the constitution of legal and parliamentary affairs for consideration and report,” Mr. Adjaho said.

The Electoral Commission has long scheduled November 7 as the day for the polls, but an amendment to the 1992 Constitution is required before Ghanaians can actually cast their ballot on the day.

Concerns with time constraints
Both Majority and the Minority members in Parliament have raised doubts about the EC’s intentions, citing time constraints in amending the provision on the election date.

But the EC has consistently allayed such fears, insisting the amendment is needed.

Responding to those concerns, a Deputy Commissioner of the EC in-charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley, recently indicated that, plans are in place to hold the elections as scheduled, pending the approval of the amendment.

“So long as the amendment goes through that the election takes place on the first Monday of November, which falls on the 7th, we are prepared to do it… So far so good. Whatever activity we are going to do, we have got the input to enable us perform so that we get the output,” he said.