Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ghana: CI 89 comes into force today to pave way for local elections

Constitutional Instrument (CI) 89, which is to guide the conduct of this year's district assembly elections, will come into force today.

With this development, the Electoral Commission (EC) can now go ahead and fix a date for the holding of the elections.

The CI was laid on March 20, this year and gazetted the same day.

As the law stipulates, a CI can only come into force after it has been laid in Parliament for 21 sitting days and today will mark exactly 21 sitting days since the CI in question was brought before the House.

A report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the CI, signed by its Chairman, Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, and distributed to MPs recommended that the CI should come into force tomorrow as provided for under Article 11 (7) (C) of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 11 (7) (C) of the 1992 Constitution states: "Any order, rule or regulation made by a person or authority under a power conferred by the constitution or any other law shall come into force at the expiration of 21 sitting days after being so laid unless Parliament, before the expiration of the 21 days, annuls the order, rule or regulation by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all members of Parliament.”


The EC postponed the district level elections which were originally scheduled for October 2014 to Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Prior to that, the District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units Instrument, 2014 ( C.I 85 ), which was laid before Parliament on Friday, November 21, 2014, was to come into force on Monday, December 22, 2014.

However, ahead of the entry into force of CI 85, the EC had opened nominations of candidates for the district assembly and unit committee elections.

The nominations were closed on Sunday, December 21, 2014, a day before the regulations came into force.

An aggrieved candidate for the elections, Benjamin Eyi Mensah, filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking, among other things, a declaration that the opening and closing of nominations for the elections prior to the entry into force of the regulations was unconstitutional.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the opening and closing of the said nominations pending the entry into force of CI 85 on Monday, December 22, 2014 was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court insisted that by virtue of Article 51 of the 1992 Constitution, the EC was mandated to specifically make regulations for the district level elections; therefore, the commission could not rely on the public elections regulations of 2012 or CI 75 to conduct the elections.

Following the Supreme Court decision, the EC caused to be laid CI 89 on Friday, March 20, 2015.
Under CI 89, the electoral areas specified in CI 85 constitute the electoral areas for the purposes of upcoming elections.
CI 89 also provides for the nominations of candidates for district assembly or unit committee elections and related matters.

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