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07.07.2005 General News

Speaker is Leader of Parliament - Parliament

GNA

Accra, July 7, GNA - The Office of Parliament on Thursday emphasised that the Speaker is the first officer of the House and one of the three topmost officers of State.

A statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of Parliament to clarify terms used for various leaders in the House said the Speaker ranks third in the official order of precedence to the President and Vice President.

"As head of the Parliamentary institution the Speaker presides over the business of the House," the statement said in reaction to reports of alleged leadership crisis in the House over the leadership of the House. "The ultimate responsibility for Parliament as an institution rests squarely on the shoulders of the Right Honourable Speaker."

The statement said the reports had quoted the Majority Leader as saying when it came to administrative functions of Parliament he took precedence over the Speaker.

However, the Office of Parliament stated that the Standing Orders, which governed the operations of the House, define "Majority Leader" as an MP designated by the party or parties holding majority seats in the House as their recognised Leader in the House.

The "Minority Leader" is the MP designated by the party having the largest numerical strength in Parliament other than the party that has formed the government as the recognised leader of all the minority groups in the House.

"These definitions are unambiguous and do not in any way compromise the position of the Speaker as head of the parliamentary institution." The statement said for purposes of smooth parliamentary business, the term "Leadership" is one that is used to distinguish between the entire membership and leaders of the respective caucuses. "The 12-member leadership, which comprises the Majority and Minority perform their functions under the auspices of the Speaker."

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