The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, has reacted to the ruling by the Supreme Court that Deputy Speakers have the right to vote when presiding in the chamber.
According to him, he feels vindicated by the Supreme Court’s ruling that a Deputy Speaker presiding over parliamentary proceedings has the right to cast his vote on matters and be counted as part of quorum for decision-making in the House.
Addressing the parliamentary press corps he said the ruling by the court has brought finality to the matter.
The legislator the court’s ruling has affirmed his position he held on the matter.
He was lambasted by the Minority when he insisted on being counted for a voice vote on November 30, 2022 for a quorum ahead of the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
“I did not participate in the voice vote but I insisted I be counted as a Member of Parliament present to constitute a quorum before the decision was taken,” he said.
“Indeed, this Supreme Court’s decision affirms that position that I took and I find that very refreshing.
“I encourage people who disagree with me to boldly state their position and if the need be refer it to the appropriate body like the Supreme Court to guide us,” he noted
“Reading from constitutional provisions, I agree with the Majority Leader but I refrained from making such pronouncement in the House because it was not clearly stated in the Standing Order and the Constitution.
“I would rather that a body higher than I would make that declaration; so, I am very glad that, that clarity has been given but I am not surprised,” he said.
“The natural consequence is that a Deputy Speaker will have a casting vote; this decision of the Supreme Court appears to affirm that position that was strongly argued and I agree with it,” he said.
“Under Article 96 of the Constitution, you must have been sworn-in as a Member of Parliament before you can be elected as a Deputy Speaker who is expected to belong to one side or the other.
“It is not a question of being a neutral person but all persons, once presiding, are required to be impartial and that is what Speakers are required by law to do,” he said.