According to him, the withdrawal of the referendum is to allow for further consultations with all key stakeholders.
Addressing the nation on Sunday, 1st December 2019, the President indicated the attainment of a broad consensus, for him, on a matter as important as the amendment of an entrenched provision of the Constitution, is critical.
"I do not believe that such an amendment should be driven as a party matter. There has to be a clear national consensus and agreement amongst the populace that a particular entrenched provision no longer serves the interest of the people, and, thus, has to be removed," he said.
He also accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of bad faith and hypocrisy.
"The time has come to strip the process of its hypocrisy, and accept and work with the reality of party involvement. It is on this basis that I proceeded in subsequently instructing the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to initiate a parliamentary process for the repeal of Article 55(3) of the Constitution.
"I thought there was general consensus after meetings with three of my predecessors, but the sudden U-turn of the National Democratic Congress has left me with no other option than to further engage other stakeholders," he stated.
Following his announcement of the cancellation, the President has been questioned.
He was queried by individuals and civil society organisations.
A lawyer and Economics professor, Kwaku Asare popularly known as Kwaku Azar has questioned the President’s right to call off the referendum.
He argued that an impending defeat for a referendum question which the president supports not ground to call it off.
According to him, the referendum cannot be withdrawn when there is a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) on it.
He said the legal thing to do to stop the referendum is to annul the C.I with 2/3rd majority votes.
"The bill no longer belongs to the sponsors. The best results would have come from the referendum. The bill has given birth to a law Ci (120). The bill cannot be withdrawn because it has created a new instrument that has authorized a referendum," he said on Accra-based Starr FM.
The National Communication Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, indicated that the President's suspension of the December 17 referendum is a fear of defeat.
"...Why the cancellation of the referendum on grounds of lack of national consensus... Why waste the public purse like this... What national consensus does the president need again if he indeed has the support of 75% of voters?" he quizzed.
On the part of the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, he urged the government to disclose how much money was spent on the referendum which has been aborted.
The Chamber of Local governance (ChaLoG) said it is disappointed over the President's decision to call off the planned referendum.
It said the move shows the President is not committed to the promise he made in the NPP manifesto.
"ChaLoG notes with deep disappointment the decision by the government to withdraw the Bill on the amendment of Article 243(1) which would have allowed Ghanaians to elect MMDCEs on a nonpartisan basis.
"This decision clearly vindicates ChaLoG’s long-held position that the government was all along not committed to the amendment of Article 243(1) but yet wanted the Referendum to be held first on 17th December 2019," it said in a statement.