Reduce Parliamentary seats to 200 – Afenyo-Markin proposes
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has suggested a reduction in the number of seats in Parliament from 275 to 200.
According to the Effutu lawmaker, this will ease pressure on the public purse.
Speaking at this year’s GIMPA Law Conference on Wednesday, March 15, Mr Afenyo-Markin said, “I must say that one critical thing to look at is to put an upper limit on the number of MPs that we must elect each year. It is unpalatable that a small country like Ghana with its many financial problems has 275 MPs. In contrast with all its financial muscle, Australia has 151 members of the house of representatives and 76 senators. We need a change in the law to stop the unnecessary expansion in the number of seats in our Parliament.”
He added that “I hold the view that Ghana needs an upper chamber, it should be known as the House of Elders whose election shall remain non-partisan and whose primary role shall be to moderate the current parliamentary excesses and extreme partisanship.
“Thus the Council of State should be converted into the Upper Chamber of Parliament…I am not suggesting that the current Council of State is not helpful.”
Mr. Afenyo-Markin also expressed worry regarding the role of MPs stating that they have become development agents contrary to their functions as lawmakers and representatives of the electorate.
He said this has made some MPs retire as paupers.
“Although lawmakers are not strictly speaking development agents, many MPs have had to dig so deep into their private pockets to provide public infrastructure to benefit underserved communities in their constituencies. In the process, many MPs have retired as paupers and have to deal with the pain of paying for private loans they contracted in their time in office to provide for the needs of their constituents.”