Accra, Jan. 7, GNA - The Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana went into dissolution at midnight on Thursday, giving way to the Fourth Parliament to be ushered in on Friday morning.
The Third Parliament had 200 members with 103 of them for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), 89 for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), three for the People's National Convention, one seat for the Convention People's Party and four Independent members.
Among them were 19 women Parliamentarians made up of 10 from the NPP and nine from the NDC.
Mr Peter Ala Adjetey was elected Speaker of this Parliament in 2001 together with two deputies, Mr Freddy Blay, First Deputy Speaker and Mr Kenneth Dzirasah the Second Deputy Speaker.
In a speech to the final session on Thursday, Mr Ala Adjetey urged Ghanaians to support and tenaciously hold on to and guard the parliamentary democracy they were enjoying in spite of their political differences.
He asked all political actors and parliamentarians to live above reproach, be honest and dutiful in their jobs, since they had crucial roles to play in the sustenance of the current democratic dispensation. "For four years now, we have worked together as a united body and this has translated into strong bonds of friendship and alliances developed on both sides of the House as a consequence.
"We have become one big family and it is, therefore, sad that we have to part today, as some of us will not be in the next Parliament." Mr Adjetey said that though the House had confidence in him and got him elected as the Speaker in 2001, sceptics thought that his background and association with the ruling party might affect his judgement.
"But human as I am, and with all the imperfect characteristic of humanity, I have managed and tried in all situations and circumstances to be as impartial as possible to all sides of the political divide in the House."
Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader said the Third Parliament failed to move closer to the people in the regions and districts. He expressed the hope that the Fourth Parliament would do better and move closer to the people in order to correct some wrong perceptions about the operations of the Legislature.
Mr Bagbin said in order to ensure that the work of the Legislature was understood and appreciated by Ghanaians, Parliament should move to the districts and interact with the people at the grassroots.
He said MPs should also ensure that the district assemblies benefited from their rich experiences and argued that the work of Parliament should be programmed in a way that would allow members to have ample time to attend district assembly meetings regularly.
The Third Parliament had 32 sittings. Some of the dramatic highpoints were debates on the HIPC Initiative, CNTCI, the IFC loan agreements and the passage of the National Health Insurance Bill. The Parliament also witnessed few boycotts by the opposition.
Dozens of members of the Third Parliament would not move into the Fourth Parliament, as some have decided to retire and some were defeated at the primaries of their political parties or lost their seats in the December 7 elections.