- While the votes casted in Ghana's Sunday presidential polls are still being counted, ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo has taken over the lead. Meanwhile, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) starts indicating that only election fraud could stop it from winning.
According to the latest numbers published by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Mr Akufo-Addo of President John Kufuor's governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken over the lead in the presidential elections, which yesterday still was held narrowly by NDC candidate John Atta Mills; the successor of ex-Dictator Jerry Rawlings.
As 192 of Ghana's 230 electoral districts have been counted, Mr Akufo-Addo had received 49.2 percent of the votes. NDC candidate Atta Mills was still closely behind the ruling party man, with 47.8 percent of the votes counted. Five other candidates shared the rest of the vote.
Would this result stand as final, none of the two candidates would have reached the 50 percent benchmark. In that case, Mr Akufo-Addo and Mr Atta Mills would meet each other in a run-off second round to be held on 28 December.
Results ticking in from the different electoral districts show a great difference in support for the two main candidates. The opposition (NDC) candidate got over 90 percent of votes in the Volta district, and also gathered a comfortable majority in the Greater Accra district. Meanwhile, the ruling party (NPP) candidate won comfortable majorities in the Eastern and Ashanti provinces, while otherwise polling well in the rest of the country, except for Volta.
The ruling NPP today made a statement saying it was confident on victory already in the first poll round. The party's national chairman Mac Manu advised its sympathisers and supporters to "remain optimistic and hopeful as results from across the country indicate a triumph for both Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the party's parliamentary candidates."
Meanwhile, the opposition NDC party is starting to protest the turnaround in electoral results, indicating the poll may have been manipulated in parts of the country. The party's national chairman Kwabena Adjei at a news conference yesterday evening called on the Electoral Commission to announce official results more quickly, indicating that the count from several districts were held back.
Mr Adjei alleged that there were attempts to manipulate the results of the election in favour of the NPP, especially referring to what he called a "delay in coming out with the collation of election results." The NDC would "do everything to resist" such alleged fraud, he said, claiming that "information available puts Prof John Evans Atta Mills and the NDC in a comfortable lead."
All other sources however hail the Ghanaian poll for being free and fair, with the country continuing its path of becoming West Africa's model democracy, along with Benin. Also foreign observers today praised Ghana's elections as broadly fair and transparent.
A European Union (EU) electoral observer team today presented its preliminary report on the elections in Accra. "Polling was conducted in a calm and generally orderly manner," the report said, adding the "EU observers assessed the overall environment positively." Only a few incidents of isolated violence had disturbed the election exercise.
The electoral commission has until tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon to release the final and official results, thus declaring a winner or a run-off poll.
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