The stage is set for the Electoral Commission to go ahead with the creation of 45 new constituencies, when the C.I. 78, the legal instrument backing the creation, matures on October 2.

This follows a heated debate in Parliament on Monday, which ended in the rejection of a report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the Representation of the people (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2012, (C.I. 78).

The Committee?s in its recommendation had urged the House to adopt its report and annul the C.I.78 in accordance with Article 11 (7) of the Constitution, but a majority decision by the NDC threw away the committee?s recommendation, effectively making room for the EC to create the new constituencies.

The C.I78, which was laid in Parliament on September 4, 2012, matures tomorrow to allow the increase of the current 230 constituencies to 275.

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho presided over a head count for the adoption of the report of the Committee but a majority head count made up of 81 from the NDC and PNC as against 56 from the NPP and the sole CPP MP, Samia Nkrumah, settled for a rejection.

When the question was subsequently put to those for annulment of the C.I78, to stand up and be counted, nobody stood up and this conclusively gave way for approval of the instrument to stand to create the constituencies.

Chairman of the Committee, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, earlier in presenting the report to the House for adoption, said that 26 existing electoral areas under the Local Government (Creation of New Districts Electoral Areas and Designation of Units) Instrument, 2010, (L.I.1983) had been excluded in the C.I.798.

His arguments were that the omission of the electoral areas affected 34 constituencies across the ten regions.

He said an L.I 1983, which is the existing law establishing electoral areas in the country had to be taken into consideration for the demarcation of constituencies involving electoral areas.

Mr Osei-Prempeh said the legal effect of the excluded electoral areas is that voters in the affected constituencies are disenfranchised and can therefore not be able to vote in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections since they are not part of the constituencies to be created by the EC.

He said coming into force of the C.I.78 will result in several legal challenges arising out of disenfranchisement of registered voters.

The majority NDC, in their arguments, said the 2012 elections would not be based on electoral areas but on polling stations and therefore no one would be disenfranchised.

They contended that the source of the authority for the EC in preparing the C.I.78 was based on the Constitution and not on L.I.1983 which means that once a person has registered at a particular polling station that person is entitled to vote.

They said the C.I. 78 derives its strength from the Constitution and not the L.I. 1983, since it was an   inferior law and subservient to the Constitution.

By Eunice Menka

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