Monday, December 8, 2008

BBC: Race tight in Ghana's vote count

Ghana's two main presidential candidates are running neck-and-neck as votes continue to be counted a day after the country's peaceful elections.

It is a public holiday and people are glued to their radios and television sets as the results trickle in.

A number of ministers have lost their seats in the parliamentary elections.

Poll officials reported a huge voter turnout and monitors hailed the exercise as a shining example of democracy in action for Africa.
President John Kufuor is stepping down in January after serving the maximum two terms.

The main contest is between Mr Kufuor's ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the former ruler Jerry Rawlings, which was in power until the 2000 elections.

The main presidential contenders are ex-Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo and the opposition's John Atta Mills.
Mr Atta Mills, of the NDC, is a candidate for the top office for a third time.

President Kufour's successor is expected to be named later on Monday.


If no candidate gains more than 50% of the vote, a second round will be held on 28 December.

But with other candidates failing to attract much support, the BBC's Will Ross in the capital Accra says the winner could get more than 50% of the vote, making a run-off unnecessary.

There is little love lost between the two main political parties, our correspondent says, and both are looking for victory.

At one polling station on Sunday, business student Sarah Walker said she was worried about unemployment levels and had lots of friends who had "finished school and are roaming the streets". But she also hoped for a peaceful transition.

The Convention People's Party, which ushered in Ghana's independence from Britain in 1957, is hoping to surprise the two main parties.
Its candidate, Paa Kwesi Nduom, could secure enough votes to prevent the other leading candidates from achieving a first-round victory, says our correspondent.

This election is important not just for Ghana, but also for the continent, he says.

The fact that the hallmark for a successful election is that it is peaceful is seen by some as a worrying sign of just how low the bar has been set when it comes to judging democracy in Africa, says our correspondent.

Source: BBC

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