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Speaker adjourns parliamentary sittings to May 19

Parliament has adjourned sittings after a series of emergency meetings held in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The adjournment is expected to give members of the house the opportunity to rest.

The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu who announced the adjournment said the house will tentatively resume sittings on May 19.

The House went on suspension on Saturday, April 4, 2020 but resumed sittings on Friday, April 17th, 2020.

Anger over suspension instead of adjournment 

Last month, the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye angered members of the Minority side in Parliament for suspending instead of indefinitely adjourning sittings. Some Minority MPs threatened legal action over the decision.

Ordinarily, to end a meeting, the Speaker would adjourn the House indefinitely and under such circumstances, a recall of the House would require a 14-day notice.

But Parliament also cited Standing Order 6 which gives the Speaker room to “make provisions as he deems fit” when there is no explicit direction.

It further insisted that the indefinite suspension of the House by the Speaker does not amount to discontinuing the session without dissolving it.

“Indeed the Speaker of Parliament is not vested with the power to prorogue Parliament as per Article 113(1) of the Constitution and if any Speaker did that, it will be null and void. In Parliament, the maxim is that Members agree to disagree and arguments in the House could sometimes be not only vociferous but also forceful.”

 

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