By Amanda Clinton Esq., A Lawyer
Given that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) currently have 137 seats each in Parliament, the independent Member of Parliament (MP) Hon Andrew Asiamah’s letter to the Speaker dated 13 January 2021 to “associate” with the NPP in the 8th Parliament and “cooperate and collaborate with them; is legally to form what is known as a “confidence and supply” deal between the NPP and the independent candidate.
The last time this happened internationally in a memorable way was in 2010 in the United Kingdom (UK) when the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives entered a similar deal. They entered the deal because the Conservatives did not get a majority in Parliament against the Labour party and the situation almost lead to a hung parliament.
The significance of the current coalition between the NPP and the Independent MP is that it will give the NPP the majority in Parliament unless additional seats are won by the NDC, pending the outcome of outstanding cases, therefore.
The Independent MP is not however absorbed fully by the NPP because if he becomes an NPP MP, constitutionally, he loses his seat as Deputy Speaker since the 1992 Constitution does not permit two Deputy Speakers belonging to the same party.
As per Order 7 of the Standing Orders of parliament, the NDC has the numerical strength to form the minority in parliament. NPP however would have to work collaboratively with NDC over all matters before Parliament and with the standing committees otherwise NDC can politically frustrate NPP for four years.