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No Space For 45 New MPs
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The Minority Leader in Parliament and the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, says Parliament cannot accommodate new members if the Electoral Commission (EC) goes ahead to create the proposed 45 new constituencies.

He opined that Parliament as it stands now could only admit 13 new members and not the proposed 45 by the EC because there is no space in the House.

The NPP MP for Suame in the Ashanti Region,On Okay FM’s Morning Show over the weekend, stated that the EC’s move was not possible under the current situation in the National Assembly.

He said, “We can’t get any place for them to sit, even if we should adjust by adding one seat, we can only increase the number by 10 and then add the three additional empty seats making 13, so if anybody says he is adding 45 to it, it would be difficult.”

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said Ghanaians must be asking themselves if the nation could continue increasing the number of constituencies as and when governments changed. “The question we have to ask is if we can continue this way, if every government comes then we create additional constituencies – in President Kufuor’s time we created 30, now 45, the next could also create 50 or 60, can we continue this way?” he wondered.

According to the Minority Leader in Parliament, it is not the practice anywhere in the world that in every seven or 10 years new constituencies were added to the existing ones, insisting the nation had to be careful, if not the result will be disastrous.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu intimated: “I asked Dr. Afari-Gyan who said what is going on is not the best because according to his explanation if the truth be told some of the districts we have created are not viable, but once the districts are created he, as the electoral commissioner, his hands are being forced to create additional constituencies and that if we do it that way it will not help us.”

The EC, in line with its constitutional mandate, last week indicated that it was in the process of reviewing the country’s constituencies to create new ones, following the release of the final figures of the 2010 population census.

Per Article 47(5) of the 1992 Constitution, the EC is mandated to “review the division of Ghana into constituencies at intervals of not less than seven years, or within 12 months after the publication of the enumeration figures after holding of a census of the population of Ghana, whichever is earlier, as may, as a result, alter constituencies”.

Speculation had been rife since last year, ahead of the notice that the EC might create new constituencies following the government’s announcement of the creation of 42 new districts.

There have also been concerns, particularly from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), over the essence of creating new constituencies in a period very close to the 2012 general election.

But the EC had insisted that the creation of new constituencies for the December 2012 would not be automatic.

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the EC, at a Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) forum organised in Accra last Thursday, on the theme, “Using the Media to Enhance the Transparency and Credibility of the 2012 Elections,” stated that the creation of new constituencies was a constitutional responsibility of the EC, especially when new census figures had been released.

According to the EC, it might create 45 more constituencies to make the current figure proportional to the newly created districts. The EC in 2004, increased the number of constituencies from 200 to the current 230.
Source: The Enquirer

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