Parliament has declared the Assin North parliamentary seat in the Central Region vacant.
The Supreme Court on May 17 ruled that the election of James Gyakye Quayson as MP for the area in the 2020 parliamentary poll on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was null, void and of no legal effect and directed the legislature to expunge his name from its records.
In a letter signed by the Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, and addressed to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Parliament entreated the Commission to take steps to organise a by-election for the area.
“In the exercise of the power conferred and duty imposed on the Clerk to Parliament by Section 3 of the Constitution of Ghana (Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 527), I…do hereby formally notify you of the occurrence of vacancy in the Assin North Constituency necessitated by the judgement of the Supreme Court dated 17 May, 2023 in the case of Michael Ankomah Nimfah Versus James Gyakye Quayson, the Electoral Commission of Ghana and the Attorney-General and request you to take appropriate consequential action as required by law,” the letter dated May 29 reads.
The declaration of the seat vacant paves way for a by-election in the area pursuant to Article 112(5) of the 1992 Constitution.
“Whenever a vacancy occurs in Parliament, the Clerk to Parliament shall notify the Electoral Commission in writing within seven days after the vacancy occurred, and a by-election shall be held within 30 days after the vacancy occurred” the Constitution states.
This will be the second by-election of the Eighth Parliament; the first being the Tuesday, May 23, 2023 one held in the Kumawu Constitution in the Ashanti Region following the death of the MP for the area, Philip Basoah.
Already, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition NDC have pitched camp in the Assin North Constituency in anticipation of the polls.
Whilst the NDC remains hopeful of retaining the seat it won for the first time in the 2020 polls, the NPP would be working to annex the seat it has always occupied.
The opposition party has indicated it would field Mr Quayson for the polls despite criminal charges brought against him by the Attorney-General.
“The full weight of the party, including the Minority Caucus in Parliament, will be put behind Honourable Quayson so as to ensure an even more resounding victory for him in the upcoming bye-election,” Fifi Kwetey, the General Secretary of the NDC wrote in a statement issued on May 23.
But the governing party has vowed to reclaim the seat from their political opponent.
“Assin North is traditionally an NPP seat and we have reclaimed it already. The projects and other developmental projects we have brought to the area including the polyclinic by me are a manifestation of our good works. We are here in Assin North to win the elections,” National Organiser of the party, Henry Nana Boakye, said in a video stream on his social media page.
Mr Quayson was accused of holding dual citizenship prior to him filling to contest the 2020 election; an allegation he has always rejected.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI