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21.02.2006 General News

The right to vote is constitutional - Deputy A-G

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, a Deputy Attorney-General on Tuesday said the right to vote was a constitutional guarantee and not a gift from the President to anyone.

He said Article 42 of the Constitution stated clearly that any Ghanaian of 18 years and above and of sound mind was entitled to a right to vote and this is what government is pursuing.

At a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday Mr Owusu-Ansah decried the "misconception that it was the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is giving the right of Ghanaians living abroad to vote". "The right to vote is already in the Constitution and the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill (ROPAP) is part of the modalities to make good Article 42 of the Constitution." He said the Supreme Court on various occasions ruled in favour of such an amendment.

He sighted the case of Tehn Addy versus the Electoral Commission, where Justice Acquah said it was the Constitution, which could enfranchise and it was the only document, which could take it away. Mr Owusu-Ansah said the best thing that any anti-ROPAB campaigner could do was to initiate a Private Members' Bill to amend Article 42 of the Constitution.

He said the person had to through the long, winding and rigorous procedure of amending that clause since it was entrenched in the Constitution.

ROBAB, which is now beyond the consideration stage, would be passed by Parliament soon.

The Minority who lost a vote on the passage of the bill through the second reading have boycotted proceedings of Parliament since February 9, this year and had taken to the streets to win public support. The Diaspora Vote Committee, a pressure group, has threatened to seek the interpretation of the Supreme Court on the matter if the passage of ROPAB in Parliament is stalled. 21 Feb. 06

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