Lawyer Rainer Akumperigya writes: Who is majority and minority in the 8th Parliament of Ghana?

Lawyer Rainer Akumperigya writes: Who is majority and minority in the 8th Parliament of Ghana?

Rainer Akumperigya, is a Private legal practitioner

The question is being asked- who is majority and minority in the 8th Parliament of Ghana? There is no positive law, whether from the constitution or Standing Orders of Parliament that provides an answer to this question.

Fact is, we assumed that in every general election, there will be an outright winner in both Presidential and Parliamentary elections. And just to be clear, the ‘winner’ of the Presidency does not confer majority status in Parliament because Parliament is a separate and independent institution from the executive.

Indeed, it will undermine parliamentary sovereignty to speak in such terms. This makes the Parliamentary results of 7th December a novelty. But this does not mean there is no answer to the question. Parliament is a master of its own rules according to our Supreme Court.

When a question is asked, the law finds a solution from positive law, precedent or creative imagination to accord with reason and human essence. Since 1992, on 7 occasions, the speaker of parliament is chosen by the majority! That is a precedent.

The 8th Parliament thus provided the solution to this supposed constitutional crisis by electing a speaker. To be fair, the terms majority or minority only have significance in outcomes.

The first major legislative decision and outcome in the 8th Parliament which also paved the way for the swearing-in and formal existence of the executive is the election of the speaker by a simple majority.

This was done by the majority in Parliament! The proponent of that candidate is the NDC and the majority. I am aware of the multiple petitions under Article 99 and s. 16 of ROPA, challenging the outcomes of certain constituency parliamentary results in Techiman South, Hohoe, Savelugu etc.

This should not matter in who is majority irrespective of their outcomes. It is possible these pending cases will not conclude before the 8th Parliament’s tenure ends or abandoned by the Petitioners. They should only matter, again, in legislative outcomes.

Most Bills and Ratifications are passed by a simple majority. They will also matter in whether Parliament forms a quorum to sit. i. e. 1/3 ( Art 102) or whether a vote can proceed 1/2 of Parliament ( Art 104). Note that all these are numbers games without regard to party affiliations.

My view, therefore, is that this majority question has already been settled by Parliament itself, being the master of its own rules to provide certainty of leadership going forward and to firm up a sub-precedent, that where there is an equal number of MPs, and the majority status cannot be pre-determined by numbers, the party whose proposed candidate prevails as a speaker in the election is the majority in Parliament.

When Parliament reconvenes, it is my hope that this should be a settled issue to avoid another unparliamentary behaviour from our MPs.

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