The process to elect a new Speaker of Parliament begins Monday as all the newly elected 275 legislators register to vote on names put forward.
The president-elect is expected to nominate two persons for the position of Speaker and First Deputy Speaker, whiles the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority will select their choice for the Second Deputy Speaker’s position.
Professor Mike Ocquaye, Joe Ghartey, Papa Owusu-Ankomah and Freddie Blay are tipped to the most likely names for a new Speaker to replace the current Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho.
Explaining Monday’s process to Joy News, Parliament’s Acting Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, told Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey all the MPs will be issued with an electronic identification card to enable them to have access to the chamber and vote.
She explains that the registration of all 275 MPs was necessary because “the life of a Parliament ends with that Parliament so regardless of whether you were a member of the fourth parliament and the fifth parliament and the sixth parliament, you are still regarded as entering a new parliament, therefore, the processes and procedures must be followed.”
The Speaker’s position is critical to Ghana’s democratic process.
As the first officer of the House, the Speaker ranks third on the national level in the official order of precedence after the President and the Vice-President.
The Speaker is elected by Members from among persons who are MPs or who qualify to be elected as Members of Parliament. The first business that is conducted in a new Parliament is the election of the Speaker.
The Speakers of the first, second and third Parliaments of the Fourth Republic were all elected from outside the membership of Parliament.However, a sitting Member of Parliament will be required to vacate his seat if he is elected as a Speaker
The Speaker presides over all plenary sittings of Parliament and his/her ruling cannot be challenged except on a substantive motion.
It is the responsibility of the Speaker to:
Act as the spokesperson of the House in its relations with the State, the President, the Council of State and other authorities outside Parliament and the Republic; and
Enforce adherence to all the Standing Orders of the House for the preservation of order and the conduct of its business.
The Speaker chairs the Parliamentary Service Board and as such has over-all responsibility for the internal functioning of the House and management of the Parliamentary Service.