Ghana army steps in to quell parliament clash ahead of swearing-in

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Ghanaian soldiers are seen at the parliament of Ghana during a misunderstanding between members of parliament in Accra, Ghana on 7 January 2021.
Ghanaian soldiers are seen at the parliament of Ghana during a misunderstanding between members of parliament in Accra, Ghana on 7 January 2021.
PHOTO: Nipah Dennis/AFP

Accra – Ghanaian soldiers intervened overnight to quell a clash between opposing parties in parliament ahead of the body's swearing-in set for Thursday.

Chaotic scenes erupted after a ruling party deputy tried to seize the ballot box during the vote for parliament speaker. The ensuing clash lasted several hours until the army stepped in, with national television broadcasting the drama live.

"There was total breakdown of law and order," said MP-elect Kwame Twumasi Ampofo of the opposition National Democratic Congress. "Looking at a member of parliament and a minister of state snatching ballot papers... was so shameful."

The new parliament will be virtually split down the middle between the two main parties, posing the risk of gridlock with key issues on the agenda including how to turn around an economy hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, who narrowly won re-election in the 27 December vote, will also be sworn in on Thursday.

His New Patriotic Party lost 32 seats in the 275-member parliament.

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