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November 7 Cannot Be Changed - AG   
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Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, has indicated that the proposed November 7, 2016 date for the general election cannot be changed.

She explained to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Select Committee of Parliament that since the proposal for the change of date is about constitution amendment, its implementation could not be postponed to any other date.

The observations of the Attorney General were made in a report to the Committee, chaired by Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Somanya, and read for the plenary on Monday for which debate has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

The lawmakers would be discussing the report of the Committee on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeking to change the date of the general election and the discussion is expected to generate a heated debate.

The Committee, in its observations after its interactions with stakeholders, noted that the calendar for the 2016 election is very tight and, therefore, posed a challenge for the Electoral Commission (EC).

Some members of the Committee, therefore, advocated for the bill to be either withdrawn or its implementation be deferred to the next election which is 2020.

There were reservations by some stakeholders about the preparedness of the EC for the implementation of the Bill, but the Committee, in its report, recommended to the plenary to pass the Bill principally because of the Council of State’s view that when passed, it would advance Ghana’s democracy and help develop the country.

“The Committee has critically examined the bill vis-à-vis the advice from the Council of State and the views of the participants at the public forum. The committee is also cautious of the implications of the change of date of the elections of both the president and members of Parliament from December to November. It has also taken note of the firm commitment and assurance given by the chairperson of the EC and is of the view that the Bill be passed,” the report said.

With the position from the minority New Patriotic Party that the EC is not adequately prepared for the November 7 general election, and that of the majority National Democratic Congress that the date is feasible, the Legislature is expected to be deeply divided on the debate and passage of the Bill.
Source: GNA

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