MP pushes for proportional representation
Published February 27th 2003 in Ghanaian Chronicle

Mr. Kofi Attoh, Member of Parliament for Ho Central on Monday, this week, suggested a Proportional Representation system to increase the membership of Parliament for the 2004 elections.

He said the Proportional Representation would be the best solution to creating a level platform for all shades of opinion and interest groups as well as offer minority parties opportunity to be represented in the House.

Mr. Attoh stated this in a contribution to discussions at a Public Forum in Accra, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs on: “The Source and Nature of Monitoring And Implementation Problems Facing The Electoral Commission.�

Mr. Attoh explained two forms of Proportional Representation that Ghana should consider; the first, where parties are represented in Parliament based on the percentage of votes received during elections and the second system where the current 200 constituencies were contested for but additional seats were gained based on the percentage of votes obtained.

The Electoral Commission had indicated proposals for the increment of the current 200 - member Parliament to about 240 for the next general election. The EC said the formula for the calculation was not based on simple mathematical factors.

The Commission had, therefore, proposed three analytical formulas for consideration; the one based on re-distribution of the 200 constituencies based on weights of one to land size and nine to census population.

Based on this formula the Western Region would gain an additional seat from the current 19 to 20 seats, Greater Accra would gain six more from 22 to 28 and the Ashanti Region would also gain three more seats from 33 to 36.

The Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions would retain their current number of 21 and 23 respectively, whilst the Upper East Region would lose two seats from its current 12 to 10, Upper West would also lose one from its current eight to seven, Central Region would lose one, from 17 to 16, Volta would lose two seats from 19 to 17 and Eastern would also lose four seats from 26 to 22.

The second proposal is based on fresh redistribution of constituencies based on weights of one land size and nine to population. Under this system the EC proposed four different levels of increments of 210, 220, 230, and 240 seats.

The Western Region would gain between three and five extra seats, Central would either gain one or two seats, while Greater Accra would gain between seven and eleven more seats.

Others are the Volta Region would either lose one seat to maintain its current 19 seats or gain one or two extra seats, Eastern would either maintain its current number of 26 seats or lose between one and four and Ashanti would gain between five and eleven extra seats.

The rest are Brong Ahafo Region gains between one and four extra seats, Northern Region gains between one and six extra seats, Upper East Region would lose either one or two seats and the Upper West Region would also lose either one or maintained its current number of eight seats.

The third formula by the Commission is based on each region retaining its present number of Constituencies and increment based on allocated quota. Under the third system, Western gains between one and four, Central gains between one and three, Greater Accra gains between one and six, Volta gains between one and four with Eastern also gaining between one and four.

The rest are Ashanti gaining between one and seven, Brong Ahafo gaining between one and four, Northern Region gaining between one and five, Upper East gaining either one or two and Upper West either maintaining its current eight or gains one extra.

The Commission explained that the average number of persons represented by a Member of Parliament in 1970 was one MP to 61,138; in 1987 it was one MP to 67,771 and 2000 is one MP to 94,560.

According to the EC if the number of seats is increased to 240, the ratio would be one to 78,800; that of 230 seats would be a ratio of one to 82,226; while 220 seats gives one to 85,964, and 210 ratio would be one to 90,058.

The EC has noted that based on the 2000 Population and Housing Census the figure of 18.9 million Ghanaians, the voting age population came to about 9.8 million, representing about 52 per cent of the total population, however, the current register contained about 11 million names representing 58 per cent.

Earlier the main speaker, Mr. David Adenze-Kanga, had called for support for the Commission to be equipped for it to perform its constitutional mandate effectively.

Mr. Justice D. F. Annan, Former Speaker of Parliament, in his intervention appealed to the Commission and the National Identification System to co-ordinate and iron out the Constitutional misunderstanding.