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Speaker’s decision not to declare Assin North seat vacant apt – Afenyo-Markin

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The Deputy Majority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu in the Central Region, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has said the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, was not wrong in his decision not to declare the Assin North Parliamentary seat vacant.

According to him, the petition to the Speaker in that regard was superfluous.

The Speaker in a letter through the Parliamentary Service said he doesn’t plan to vacate the Assin North seat held by the NDC Parliamentary Candidate, James Quayson, whose victory in the 2020 election was annulled a High Court on July 28.

The letter also referenced article 117 of the 1992 Constitution with regard to the service of processes on the Speaker or a Member of Parliament.

“Mr. Speaker further noted in his formal communication on the matter on the 9th June 2021 that ‘when, Parliament is on recess and a Speaker, Member of Parliament or Clerk to Parliament is in the precincts of Parliament, there is a presumption that the Speaker, Member of Parliament or Clerk to Parliament is attending to the business of Parliament, and cannot be served a process within the precincts of Parliament.”

According to him, the issue has “not been concluded by the Courts with competent jurisdiction on the matter.”

The Majority Leader, in an interview on Eyewitness News, said this isn’t one of the cases the Speaker can easily declare a vacancy.

“The Speaker is not wrong about the letter he wrote, and I think that is it. When somebody files a process in furtherance of his notice of appeal, which in this case is the application for stay of execution; and that is why the Speaker said that granting the wishes of the petitioner as per the communication to him would be sub judice.”

“It was even superfluous to have served the Speaker because he doesn’t even come in here. This is not one of the situations a Speaker can declare a vacancy,” he noted.

Alex Sebgefia applauds Speaker of Parliament for not declaring Assin North seat vacant
A member of the legal team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alex Segbefia, who also spoke on Eyewitness News, applauded the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin for his decision not to declare the Assin North Parliamentary seat vacant.

“Absolutely, the Speaker’s letter did not come to me as a surprise at all when I read it. The Speaker of Parliament’s response is absolutely spot on. The court processes are not yet over. The appeal process must be gone through and the stay of execution may or may not be heard before.”

“Once there is an appeal, it is possible if the orders of the court are adhered to and subsequently, there was a by-election before the hearing of the case, and you have a new MP in place you will enter into the realm of absurdity if subsequently, you have a situation where the court of Appeal rules in favour of Mr. Quayson”, he said.

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