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Low turnout in assembly election proof referendum was bound to fail – Mahama

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Mahama, says the low turnout recorded in District Assembly election is an indication that the cancelled December 17 referendum was bound to fail.

The referendum was to decide on an amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to enable political parties to participate in local level elections.

According to Mr. Mahama, the stance of the NDC on political party participation in the elections represented the views of the majority of Ghanaians.

“After what happened yesterday, one could have wondered what the fate of the referendum could have been considering the turnout was very low… Maybe it was very well considered to have withdrawn the referendum because obviously it would have failed.”

He was speaking at a meeting some executives of the Trade Union Congress TUC.
This engagement formed part of the NDC’s consultative engagement to solicit for opinions in developing the party’s 2020 manifesto dubbed ‘ The People’s Manifesto’.
Ahead of the referendum, an Afrobarometer report noted that over 50 percent of Ghanaians said they were not aware of the upcoming referendum.

The President later cancelled the referendum because of what he said was the absence of “a durable national consensus” on the matter following consultations.
As the referendum day drew closer, there was a noticeable split among major stakeholders and observers.
After a seeming consensus on a YES vote in the referendum, the NDC started advocating for a NO vote.
The NDC was worried that an amendment will open district assemblies and unit committees to “the needless NDC-NPP polarisation.”
Mr. Mahama had backed his party’s position suggesting that an amendment of Article 243(1) of the constitution was more necessary.
Per Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, District Chief Executives for every district are to be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.

Source: Anass S. Seidu | | Ghana

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