Deputy Local Government Minister, Osei Bonsu Amoah, has defended the need for political parties to actively partake in assembly elections.

The Akuapem South MP said the parties already do so albeit discreetly due to a constitutional barricade.

Giving them the nod to do so, he told Joy News’ Upfront programme, would take away the discreet nature of their participation and deepen multiparty participation at all levels of the country’s politics.

His comments come ahead of the December 17, 2019 referendum that seeks to repeal the provision of the constitution that bars political parties from assembly elections.

If the ‘Yes’ vote carries the day, all elections at the assembly level would see political parties fielding candidates.

This comes at a time when Parliament is on course to amend Article 243 of the Constitution to take away the power to appoint Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) from the President.

The Deputy Local Government Minister then explained that the December 17 Referendum is not to decide whether MMDCEs should be elected or not but only to decide whether parties can take part in such an election.

The process to decide on their election, he explained, is taking place in Parliament and would need two-thirds of MPs to pass it.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised in their manifesto to ensure the election of MMDCEs.

Asked why the government is not focussing on the election of MMDCEs alone but has now included the partisan factor, OB Amoah said the government has simply enhanced the promise.

Meanwhile, there is an increasing campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the Referendum.

Campaigners argue that the unnecessary partisanship and duopoly of the two biggest parties, the NDC and NPP, must be kept away from the assemblies.