The 2024 budget was ultimately approved by Parliament in spite of strong opposition from the Minority.
Following the headcount, 138 votes were cast in the majority caucus and 136 in the minority caucus.
Following the conclusion of the debate on Wednesday, November 29, Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin called for a voice vote on the approval of the budget, with the majority winning.
The Majority group was forced to stage a walkout when the Minority Caucus challenged the decision and chose to conduct a headcount instead.
In order to clear the way for the approval of budget estimates, Speaker Alban Bagbin then declared that a headcount vote on the government’s economic policy and budget statement would take place today, December 7.
They claimed that the Speaker had ruled in favor of the Majority side during a voice vote on the floor that day, but that he had beat a retreat when the Minority contested the voice vote and sought a headcount.
They also charged that the Speaker had used delaying tactics to allow minority members who were not present in the chamber to rush in and have their votes counted. The Speaker had insisted that members stand up once their names were called.
“What is happening is that there are five members of the minority who are not here, so all that he’s doing is to play for time to enable them to come to the chamber. That is it, that’s all that it is,” the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had said.
But the Speaker defended his purported u-turn by claiming he had only expressed an opinion and not rendered a decision.
“So, whenever there is an opinion throughout the practice, you say I think, I think, that is an opinion I’m expressing,” he stated. The ayes, I believe, have it. Now that the opinion is open to challenge, 113(2) states that a member may call for a headcount or division if the Speaker’s opinion on a voice vote is contested. This is because the provision discusses the opinion rather than the ruling.