A Fellow of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)-Ghana, Professor Atsu Amegashie, has suggested that the 1992 Constitution must be amended to cap the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) to avoid the trap of successively increasing parliamentary seats from equally-sized constituencies to proportionally-sized.
“To save money and not be caught in the trap of successively increasing parliamentary seats, we should amend our constitution from equally-sized constituencies to proportionally-sized number of regional parliamentary seats.
“We don’t need too many MPs nor do we have to build a 450-seat parliament in anticipation of successive increments in population and, thus, given Article 47 of the constitution and the electoral commission’s approach, an increase in the number of constituencies.
“Amend the constitution now! Cap the number of constituencies at the current number of 275 or a smaller number,” Prof. Amegashie wrote in an article.
He indicated that in response to population growth, the Electoral Commission (EC) had met constitutional requirement of approximately equally-sized constituencies by increasing number of constituencies and thus parliamentary seats.
“There were 200 constituencies/parliamentary seats in the 1992 elections, 230 in the 2004 elections, and 275 in the 2012 and 2016 elections, without constitutional amendment, it is obvious “dropping that chamber” will be short-lived, eventually, that 450-seat parliamentary chamber will be built, at that time, it will cost more than $200 million.
“Increasing number of constituencies is not only solution to aforementioned constitutional requirement when there is population growth or demographic shift, merging constituencies can also result in approximately equally-sized constituencies.
“We should learn from the US which has managed to maintain number of seats in House of Representatives at 435 for 106 years because number of seats in the House of Representatives has been 435 since 1913 but it was in 1929 it was “legally” capped at 435.
“We don’t need too many MPs nor do we have to build a 450-seat parliament in anticipation of successive increments in population, the number of constituencies at the current number of 275 or a smaller number,” Prof. Amegashie postulated.