Ghana’s Electoral Commission formally announces cancellation of referendum

The Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensah, has formally announced the cancellation of the referendum to amend article 55, clause 3 of the 1992 Constitution.

Jean Mensa, EC boss

In a statement she signed, the EC Chairperson said this is coming after they notified the Speaker of Parliament on the withdrawal of the two bills that sought to amend articles 55 (3) and 243 (1) by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, on the authority of the President.

However, she indicated that the District Assembly and the Unit Committee elections will still come off as scheduled on Tuesday, December 17.

“All eligible voters are urged to go to their respective polling stations from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p. m. to cast their votes”, it added.

This statement is coming after Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo on Sunday (December 1, 2019) called for the withdrawal of the December 17 Referendum.

In a broadcast to the nation, the Nana Akufo-Addo said the withdrawal will give them more time for further consultations with key stakeholders and the public in general.

“It is with deep regrets that I have given instructions to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who will spear this process on behalf of government with commendable vigour and dynamism to abort the process and seek the withdrawal of the Bills for the amendment of the constitution both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3).”

The referendum was to amend the law to allow political parties to engage in Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and unit committee members elections.

The governing NPP was encouraging Ghanaians to vote ‘yes’ while the major opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) was campaigning for a ‘No vote.’

“In these circumstances, I am convinced that it will not serve the public interest to go ahead with the holding of the referendum on the 17th December even though I believe that a strong campaign for a Yes vote would have succeeded,” President said in the broadcast that lasted less than 10 minutes.

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