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05.11.2007 Politics

Party Leanings Don’t Dominate Proceedings

By Daily Graphic
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A Performance assessment research on Parliament has countered the view that party leanings dominate parliamentary proceedings.

The research, conducted by the Research Department of Parliament over the period starting May 16 to July 26, 2006 used the number of substantive amendments to bills proposed by the Majority, which were supported by the Minority and vice versa to assess the bi-partisan co-operation in Parliament.

Within the period a total of 153 substantive amendments were proposed on eight bills, out of which 64 per cent were proposed by the Majority and supported by the Minority.

Of the amendments proposed by the Minority, 31 per cent were supported by the Majority. The results of the research, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), were launched by the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, on Thursday.

The research also revealed the low participation of female MPs, with the results indicating that out of the 153 amendments proposed, neither was proposed nor supported by the female legislators.

Launching the research results, Mr Hughes said the nation had reached a stage “where we cannot move forward on mere sentiments”.

He said it was therefore important for institutions to equip themselves with the requisite knowledge that should make them capable of giving expert guidance to Ghanaians.

“It is a good practice for the Research Department of Parliament to undertake such periodic assessments as it helps to deepen our resolve in consolidating parliamentary democracy”, he stressed.

The Speaker expressed the hope that the findings of the study would be carefully studied by the leadership and management of the Parliamentary Service to identify areas where Parliament had fallen short of its responsibilities.

Mr Sekyi Hughes said he had observed with concern the public perception that Parliament was polarised in spite of the consultations made among the caucuses in the House over issues of national concern and the avenues created for more effective engagement with the public.

He gave the assurance that Parliament would not relent in its efforts to effectively implement measures for self-assessment in view of the desire to improve performance of the legislature.

Mr Sekyi Hughes, therefore, called on Ghana's development partners to complement the efforts of the Parliamentary Service to improve the capacity of Members of Parliament and staff to enable them to fulfil their mandates.

Story by Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

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