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The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has said a referendum leading to the amendment of the Article 55 (3) of the Constitution would be held alongside the district elections in September.
The article, which is an entrenched provision, states that “Subject to the provisions of this Article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character; and sponsor candidates for election to any public office other than to the District Assemblies or lower local government units”.
She said an amendment to this article was critical if MMDCEs would be elected on a partisan basis through the universal adult suffrage system.
“As an entrenched article, a national referendum is required for it to be amended,” she said.
Hajia Mahama said this at a meeting held to sensitise and create a better understanding of the election processes among the representatives of the various political parties.
The forum held under the theme: “Electing MMDCEs for Improved Local Decentralisation and Good Governance,” was also used to discuss the proposed national road map for the elections, expected to take off in 2021.
The minister said: “A draft bill for amendment of the article has been approved by Cabinet and sent to the Speaker of Parliament who has sent it to the Council of State for advice.
The Council of State has given its advice and the Attorney General has since gazetted the Bill.”
40 per cent must vote
Hajia Mahama said per the constitutional standard required to approve the referendum amendment, at least 40 per cent of the persons entitled to vote in Ghana must vote at the referendum.
She said it was part of the requirement that at least 75 per cent of those who voted must approve the bill.
To ensure adequate sensitisation of the public, Hajia Mahama said the ministry was collaborating with all key institutions including the Electoral Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education to ensure its smooth implementation.
The ministry has also engaged the media on the road map for the election of MMDCEs to enable them to appreciate and accurately report on the process leading to the election in 2021.