Speaker: Review of Parliament’s Standing Orders will prevent chaotic scenes

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has indicated that a review of the Standing Orders of Parliament will prevent chaotic scenes and ensure consensus building and smooth decision-making.

“Because of the new creature we have today, which people refer to as hung Parliament, the rules we have now, are structured for a majoritarian Parliament, which we do not have now but we are trying to tweak the rules a bit to incorporate some rules that can help us manage any situation since it has been very difficult to manage this Parliament,” he conceded.

Mr Bagbin noted that the 8th Parliament was a very difficult one to manage, had experienced some chaotic scenes, largely due to its hung nature, as both sides of the House had same number of members, 137 each, with an independent candidate who associated with the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Speaking at the inauguration of members of the Parliamentary Press Corps, April 4, the Speaker pointed out that managing the current Parliament had been difficult since the old rules were the same being used to manage a new kind of Parliament (hung parliament) where all sides had an equal number.

“Some people do not understand why the behaviour of the current Parliament is way different from the old one, but it is actually to be expected, though we did not anticipate it and making decisions on some important issues becomes tough because the numbers come to play,” Mr Bagbin bemoaned.

According to him, the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) took about five months to be passed on March 29, 2022, due to several disagreements between the two caucuses although the bill was passed after the Minority staged a walkout.

Some Members of Parliament (MPs) have filed a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the legality or otherwise of the passage and insisted the Majority did not have the required numbers for the passage of the bill.

Parliament also for the first time has a Speaker of Parliament who is aligned with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the novelty has created a number of problems for consensus building and in recent times, it has also posed a huge problem for parliamentary rules and Standing Orders, forcing some persons to seek interpretation at the Supreme Court.

A recent Supreme Court ruling which declared that Deputy Speakers sitting as Speakers do not lose their votes, created a huge debate with the Speaker of Parliament himself criticising the Supreme Court over the ruling. –

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