The New Patriotic Party (NPP) says it is saddened by the cancellation of the December 17 referendum by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
At a press conference on Monday, addressed by its General Secretary, John Boadu, the NPP said the President was given “no choice” in the matter.
The President called off the referendum slated for December 17, due to what he calls the lack of a broad national consensus among key stakeholders and the populace.
He consequently instructed the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, to abort the process and see to the withdrawal of the bills for the amendment of the Constitution, both in respect of Articles 243(1) and 55(3).
But President Akufo-Addo pledged to continue consultations on the matter, which the NPP welcomed.
“We are however encouraged by the assurance last night that the president and the government are not giving up on this important search for a consensus for as long as the New Patriotic Party remains in office.”
The December 17 national referendum was meant to decide on an amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to enable political parties to sponsor candidates during local level elections.
But the absence of “a durable national consensus” on the matter following consultations compelled President Akufo-Addo to cancel the referendum.
“In these circumstances, I am convinced that it will not serve the public interest to go ahead with the holding of the public referendum on 17th December even though I believe a strong campaign for a YES vote would have succeeded. This is not the kind of atmosphere in which the repeal of an entrenched provision of the Constitution should take place,” he said.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) started advocating for a NO vote few weeks to the referendum saying an amendment to Article 55 (3) will open district assemblies and unit committees to “the needless NDC-NPP polarisation.”
Traditional leaders were also in disagreement over the need for partisan participation in the district level elections.
The National House of Chiefs in a statement issued and signed by its President Togbe Afede XIV argued that decentralisation would negatively be affected by the control of political parties.
But the Paramount Chief of the Akyem Abuakwa traditional area and President of the Eastern Region House of Chiefs, Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II urged Ghanaians to ignore calls for a NO vote in the national referendum.