Both the Majority and Minority in Parliament agree that this year’s elections must be held in spite of COVID-19.
According to the Majority, the Constitution was ambivalent about what should happen in the absence of a general election and, therefore, called for measures to provide space for the holding of the 2020 elections.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, was responding to calls by the Minority for the Electoral Commission (EC) to appear before Parliament with a roadmap on how it intends to conduct this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
He said he agreed that this year’s election must be held.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Constitution was not clear about what should happen should there be no general election.
“I believe that when we meet, the EC whether at the level of Special Budget Committee and perhaps in the Committee of the Whole we could do that,” he said.
Making the case of the Minority at the commencement of the first sitting of the second meeting of Parliament, yesterday, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu said whether COVID-19 or no COVID-19 pandemic, the EC was expected to carry out the general elections.
“This country, COVID-19 or no COVID-19, we are a democracy and our democracy will evolve and they will be expected to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections and we need to know what their roadmap is,” it said.
“We will not accept any excuse for their inability to live up to their calling under Article 45,” he said.
In his closing remarks at the first meeting of the fourth session of Parliament on May 1, this year, Mr Iddrisu said,
“The independent EC, created under Article 45 of the Constitution, owes members of this House and Ghanaians a duty, hence they must be summoned to appear before the House to give their roadmap as to their preparedness in view of COVID-19.”
The EC suspended its plans to compile a new voters’ register which was scheduled to begin on April 18, due to COVID-19.
The EC had said it was collaborating with health experts to decide on a more favourable date depending on the prevalence rate of the novel coronavirus.
Continuing with his submission on other matters, Mr Iddrisu noted that under the direction of the Speaker and the leadership of the House, Parliament had responded to the national call in supporting the Executive to contain the spread of COVID-19.
He said the Executive would need the strong support of the House to contain the pandemic.
Mr Iddrisu, however, noted that there could not be a trade-off between the health of Ghanaians and the economic recovery in the bid to stop the spread of infections.