The Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana will be dissolved at midnight on Sunday January 6, 2013, to pave the way for the commencement of the Sixth Parliament on the morning of Monday, January 7, 2013.
The Fifth Parliament has 230 members, comprising 116 seats for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), 106 seats for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), two seats for the People’s National Convention (PNC), one seat for the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and three independent seats.
Among the members are 19 women parliamentarians, 13 from the NPP, five from the NDC and one from the CPP.
Six of the members passed on during the Fifth Parliament, with the recent being the MP for Buem, Henry Ford Kamel, who died on last Christmas Day.
About 177 members of the Fifth Parliament would move into the Sixth Parliament as they won their re-election bids in the last Parliamentary polls. And 97 new entrants would join them in the Sixth Parliament.
The NDC will dominate the Sixth Parliament with 148 seats, with the NPP occupying 122 seats and four Independent members joining the House.
A by-election is expected to be conducted in the next 60 days to elect a new member for the Buem Constituency due to the passing of the MP-elect Henry kamel.
After the dissolution of the Fifth Parliament on the stroke of midnight of Sunday, the 274 Members-elect who would in on January 7, elect the First and Second Deputy Speakers as well as the Speaker of Parliament.
The substantive Speaker will in the morning of the January 7 swear in the new MPs as dictated by the Constitution into the Sixth Parliament.
There was initial confusion over the timeline for the dissolution of the Fifth Parliament and the inauguration of the Sixth Parliament, owing to an inconsistency in a provision in the Presidential (Transition) Act, 2012 (Act 845).
Section 11 (1) of the Act provides that the Clerk of Parliament summons a meeting of the elected members of parliament two days before the dissolution of Parliament to elect the Speaker, deputy Deputy Speakers and take the oaths of office as members.”
Section 11(3) of the Act further provides: “The Speaker elected under sub-section (1) and the Members of Parliament who take their oaths of office under that sub-section, assume office subject to the operations of Article 113 of the Constitution, and accordingly take office on the 7th January following the general election.”
Both sections of Act 845 are inconsistent with provisions of the 1992 Constitution. Article 113 (2) states that Parliament shall continue for four years from the date of its first sitting and shall then stand dissolved, indicative that the current Parliament stands dissolved on January 6, 2013, considering that its first sitting was on January 7, 2009.
Article 95 (1) of the Constitution further stipulates: “There shall be a Speaker of Parliament who shall be elected by the Members of Parliament from among persons who are Members of Parliament or who are qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament.”