Ghana has a unicameral Legislature composed of 230 Members of Parliament from single-member constituencies with an Executive President who appoints Ministers majority of whom by the Constitution have to come from Parliament.
Parliament operates very much on the lines of the Parliament of Westminster. It follows to some extent, the Westminster model, making provision for Ministers to be questioned in Parliament, and also for Members of Parliament to make statements on matters of public importance, for them to introduce motions on the matters which they consider important and for them to approve the policies of Government in general. The Government, for example, cannot enter into any international agreement without the ratification of Parliament: and various such controls exist.
Life of Parliament
A term of the Parliament of Ghana spans over a period of four (4) years from the first Sitting day following a general election as stipulated by Article 113 (1) of the 1992 Constitution. Article 112 (2) of the same Constitution provides that, a Session of that period between the last and first Sitting of the next Session of Parliament shall not amount to twelve (12) months. Within a Session of Parliament, there are periods of Meetings and Sittings.
Session Of Parliament
A Session of Parliament is the Sitting(s) of Parliament commencing upon the first Meeting of Parliament after a dissolution and ending when Parliament is dissolved. By a Constitutional Instrument, the Speaker of Parliament exercises the power of summoning a new Session of Parliament. In practice, the first Session of Parliament begins on the 7th January after a general election. On the average, Parliament Sits for 28 weeks and goes on recess for 24 weeks within a Session. The House Sits from Tuesday to Friday, making an average of 132 Sittings in a Session.
Meeting of Parliament
A Session of Parliament is made up of periods known as Meetings. A Meeting is a Sitting or Sittings of Parliament commencing when Parliament first meets after being summoned at any time and ending when Parliament is adjourned sine die or at the conclusion of a Session.
Ordinarily, there are three Meetings in a Session:
- 1st Meeting: January to March
- 2nd Meeting: May to July
- 3rd Meeting: October to December
Sitting of Parliament
A Sitting of Parliament is the period during which Parliament Sits continuously without adjournment.