Let’s Review Parliamentary Election System — Prof. Addae-Mensah

Prof. Addae-MensahProfessor Ivan Addae Mensah of the University of Ghana, has called for a rethink of the country’s parliamentary election system, saying the current system poses problems in securing majority representation of the citizenry in Parliament.

According to him, the current “First-pass-the-post” system makes it possible for candidates to become Members of Parliament without securing the majority of the votes of the electorate in their constituencies, adding that “it poses a danger to our democracy”.

He explained that the present “First-pass-the-post” election system needs to be reviewed to ensure an effective representation of Ghanaians in Parliament.

Speaking at a forum on the anti-Winner Takes All (WTA) campaign by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Kumasi yesterday, Prof. Addae-Mensah, who is a member of the WTA Advisory Committee, gave an instance to buttress his call.

He said for instance where among  five parliamentary candidates contesting in a constituency of 5000 voters, one candidate secures  1300 votes (26 per cent), another gets 1200 ( 24 per cent), another gains 1100 (22 per cent), another gets 1000 (20 per cent) and the last gets 400 (8 per cent) votes.

By the present system, he said the one with 1,300 votes wins the elections because of the superior number of votes, although he did not secure the majority of the votes.

He pointed out that the winner, therefore, does not command the authority and respect of the majority of the electorates.

“We can therefore have a whole Parliament that is not representative of the majority of Ghanaians.

“We have to rethink this system,” he said.

He said in some countries, the problem has been resolved by holding a second round voting for the two leading candidates to ensure that majority of the people decided who leads them in Parliament.

“I think we can take a cue from that solution,” he said.

The forum, which had the theme, “Rethinking Ghana’s Winner-Takes-All system of governance”, is part of consultations to provide inputs into the process for the development of the bill for the amendment of the constitution.

In their contributions, most of the participants spoke about the negative effects of the WTA system, which they believed posed danger to the nation’s democracy and governance system.

To solve the problem, the participants called for a constitution-based long-term national development plan, that would bind governments to a national plan to prevent the situation where new government suspend the projects of their predecessors and try to develop new ones based on the focus of their manifestos.

Alhaji Musah Akambonga, President of the Council of Zongo Chiefs in the Ashanti Region, in his contribution, reiterated the call for the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, saying that would enhance development rather than the present system where they are appointed by the President. From Edmund Mingle,
Kumasi

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