Draft Parliamentary Transition Bill presented to Speaker

A draft Parliamentary Transition Bill from the Center for Democratic Transitions (CDT) has been presented to the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin.

It was presented to him by Professor Kwamina Ahwoi and Nana Ato Dadzie, both consultants with the CDT.

Transitioning from one Parliament to another under the Fourth Republican Constitution has had gaps and doubtful legal validity that have created challenges from one Parliament to another in particular, and for democratic governance in general.

The purpose of the draft bill is to ensure a smooth, seamless and peaceful transition for the Legislature which is similar to, but different from the Presidential Transition Act, which was passed for the Executive for similar purpose.

The bill focuses on peculiarities of the legislature in periods of changeover, and what the experience has been so far and the idea of enacting legislation in the nature of a Parliamentary Transition Bill.

Speaking after the presentation, Mr Bagbin said the Parliamentary Services Board commissioned the drafting of the bill to help bring closure to some unregulated and contestable aspects of the processes, procedures and practices when it came to parliamentary transition.

He explained that the draft bill took retrospective look at what happened in the past, considers today’s hung Parliament, anticipated what could happen in the future and provided direction and guidance.

“I look forward to sharing proposals and recommendations with Parliamentary Service Board so that together, they can chart a path that will sustain parliamentary democracy in the country”.

Presenting the draft bill, Prof. Ahwoi gave examples of gaps the bill would help close and election of the Speaker of Parliament had hitherto been done by elected Members of Parliament who had not been sworn into office which was problematic and could raise legal issues.

“The bill proposes election of the Speaker should be by constituting elected Members of Parliament into an electoral college to conduct business, help circumvent current challenge, avoid unnecessary complications, complexities in future and consideration given to the Electoral Commission to be responsible for election of the Speaker of Parliament,” he contended.

Prof. Ahwoi suggested the Speaker, once elected and sworn in, supervises election of the deputies to be done at least two days before the Speaker presided over Parliament for swearing-in of president-elect of the Republic, in consonance with Presidential Transition Act.

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