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MPs voted on election date along party lines – Kwesi Pratt

Kwesi Pratt Senior Journalist

Kwesi Pratt Senior Journalist

Senior Journalist, Kwesi Pratt has blamed the Electoral Commission (EC) for the rejection of a proposal to hold elections in November instead of the status quo (December) and further posited that Mps voted along their party lines.

Parliament on Thursday, July 21st failed to achieve at least 184 YES votes for the two-thirds majority in support of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016 to move the date from December 7 to November 7.

125 Members of the House voted in favour of November 7 while 95 voted against, hence making it difficult for the Commission to implement the new date.

The essence of the bill was to allow the government to use 60 days to prepare for handing over on January 7 of the next year and not the current 30 days, which it believed to be insufficient.

While the Minority maintains it supports the change in principle, the caucus says it is dismayed at what they believe is a lackadaisical attitude of the EC in preparing for the elections.

If the Bill is passed to change the da

te, the Minority fears it will put undue pressure on the EC to hurry up, cut corners and possibly jeopardize the credibility of the elections.

The consensus to move the date was reached as far back as 2011 by the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Commission.

Yet it took more than four years to bring the date change to Parliament for a vote.

Some however accuse the opposition NPP of deliberating opposing a move to change the general election date from December 7 to November 7.

But the NPP insists that while it is important to have adequate time for handing-over, it makes no sense to sacrifice a credible election for a smooth transition.

Addressing the issue on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo, Kwesi Pratt wondered why the EC failed to table the proposal before the Legislative House earlier before July 21.

According to him, the Commission had ample time from the beginning of the year to propose the new date to the House for the proposal to undergo the necessary procedures.

Mr. Pratt held strongly that “they delayed unnecessarily. It made things very compact . . . The Electoral Commission didn’t hurry up in its work. They slowed down for things to become complicated.”

He also slammed the MPs, stating that the voting pattern in the House was partisan since it was not a secret ballot.

“The voting was still on party lines. No one can convince me that the voting was not on party lines.”

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