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27.01.2009 Politics

Parliamentary caucuses defined for the transaction of business in House

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Parliament on Tuesday approved a formula for the composition of committees and other parliamentary groups based on the numerical strengths of parties in the House.

For the transaction of Parliamentary business, a Member of Parliament (MP) should belong to a Standing Committee such as the Privileges and Appointments committees or a Select committee, which have oversight functions over government ministries, departments and agencies.

Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, in presenting the report, said the majority caucus, was made up of 114 members of the National Democratic Congress, two Peoples National Convention members and one Independent member for the Wulensi constituency.

The Minority, he said, was made up of 107 members of the New Patriotic Party, three Independent members representing the Bosome-Freho, Bekwai and Nkawkaw constituencies.

“The Convention Peoples Party member for Jomoro did not want to be aligned to any of the caucuses. However, for the purposes of composing the various committees, delegations and other groups, she was constrained to belong to the Minority,” he added.

“In the light of the above, leadership recommends that the composition of the membership of committees, parliamentary delegations and other groupings should reflect the respective strength of the various caucuses, that is 51 per cent for the majority caucus and 49 per cent for the minority caucus,” Mr Bagbin said.

Earlier, Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong, NPP member for Assin North, was forced to leave the Chamber before the commencement of Public Business, when a member took issue over Mr Agyapong's presence in the chamber because he had not been formally sworn in.

Mr Agyapong was not present when the 227 MP-Elects took the oaths of office and allegiance on January 7, 2009.

Mrs. Joyce Bamford-Addo, Speaker, ruled that the member be sworn in on Wednesday.

The Speaker had earlier communicated to the House the President's list of ministerial nominees made public last week.

She subsequently referred the list to the Appointment Committee for consideration.

The Speaker also informed the House of the President's nomination of Mr Peter Nanfuri, retired Inspector-General of Police and General Arnold Quainoo, a retired army officer to the Council of State.

She said the President was to nominate a retired Chief Justice to the Council but that was vacant because there was no retired Chief Justice to fill that position.

In another development, MPs heaped praises on US President Barak Obama on his election as the 44th President of his country.

Contributing to a statement on the floor of the House, they said Ghanaians should learn from the rise of President Obama, who out of obscurity had defied the odds and discrimination to get to the top.

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