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11.01.2005 NPP News

PNC and others join NPP in Parliament

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Accra, Jan. 11, GNA - Members of Parliament from the People's National Convention (PNC) on Tuesday openly declared their intention to join the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in discharging their duties in Parliament.

They made their intention known in reaction to calls by Members of Parliament (MPs) from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to declare their stand in the House.

The question arose during a debate on the motion that the House adopts the formula for the composition of membership of Parliamentary Committees, Delegations and other Parliamentary Groups and Associations, moved by the Acting Majority Leader, Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong.

In seconding the motion, Mr Alban Bagbin, The Minority Leader, had called on MPs from the PNC and the Convention People's Party to declare in writing, which side they would like to belong.

Mr John Mahama, NDC-Bole/Bamboi, expressed surprise that some of these MPs from minority parties appeared to have joined the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) and called for a written letter to indicate their stance on the matter.

Mr David Apasera, People's National Convention (PNC) - Bolgatanga, in a quick reaction, said the PNC had decided to join the NPP to conduct business in the House.

Mr Moses Dani-Baah, PNC-Sissala East, said the NDC had no business deciding where they should belong. The others on the Majority side are the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the Independent Candidate. The House later adopted the Report of the Leadership of the House on the Formula for the composition of the Parliamentary Committees, Delegations and other Parliamentary Groups and Associations.

The Report said the membership of the Majority Caucus stood at 136 - made up of 128 members of NPP, four for PNC, three for CPP and the Independent Member - while that of the Minority NDC was 94.

"Mr speaker, Leadership recommends that the composition of the membership of committees and other groupings should reflect the strength of the various party caucuses, that is 59 per cent for the majority and 41 per cent for the Minority," the report added.

The Fourth Parliament has 230 membership made up 128 seats for the NPP, 94 for the NDC, PNC four, CPP three and one independent person. More

Earlier, before the commencement of Public Business, Mr Bagbin had urged President John Agyekum Kufuor to comply with the constitutional provision of informing Parliament of his intentions to travel outside the country before embarking on any such journeys.

The Minority Leader raised the issue when the Speaker, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, read a letter from the President dated January 5, 2005 informing the House of his intention to travel to Libreville. According to Mr Bagbin, President Kufuor should have communicated earlier to the House because at the time the House was informed the President had already left.

The issue generated a heated debate putting the newly elected Speaker to the test and giving him a taste of what might be in store for him as MPs from both sides joined in the debate raising the temperature of the House.

The Majority Side said President Kufuor did not need permission from Parliament to travel, adding that what was required by the Constitution was for him to inform the House of his intended travels, which was done long before he left for Libreville.

The Minority Side said the communication was delivered to the House late after President Kufuor had left and this could have been avoided since he knew of his plans to travel way back.

Speaker Sekyi-Hughes stepped in to end the debate, saying the President's letter, dated January 5 2005 was in order because the President travelled on January 9 2005. 11 Jan. 05

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