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Ghana opposition candidate predicts victory

Ghana opposition candidate predicts victory

Ghana's opposition leader has predicted that he would win the presidential election, based on the vote count from the majority of constituencies before announcement of the final results on Tuesday.
The Electoral Commission said Monday that partial results from the runoff showed opposition candidate John Atta Mills ahead with 52.1 percent of counted ballots or 4,065,883 votes, compared with 47.9 percent, or 3,737,655 votes, for the ruling party's Nana Akufo-Addo. The figures were based on votes from 200 of 233 constituencies.
Speaking to reporters and supporters late Monday, Atta Mills said "the figures we have shows that I have the election, and I am just waiting for the (Electoral Commission) to declare me winner."
An official of the governing New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, rejected the comments. He said if the ruling party lost, it "would exhaust the law courts" to challenge the results.
Each side has accused the other of irregularities, and court challenges or demands for recounts are expected. Some analysts predict Atta Mills could win by less than 50,000 votes in the extremely tight contest. An estimated 12.4 million of Ghana's 23 million population are registered to vote.
Though tensions are running high, Obetsebi-Lamptey said there would be no violence.
"We are not going into the streets and burn down Accra because we disagree with some results," he said.
Hundreds of opposition supporters, some carrying sticks, swarmed around the building where the Electoral Commission is expected to announce the final vote tally around midday. Tensions were high, and a heavy police presence was visible in the area.
An observer team from the 15-nation regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, has commended the way the election was run. The bloc's leader, Yakubu Gowon, urged "the political leaders to accept the verdict of the people in the interest of peace."
Opposition supporters claim results from the ruling party stronghold of Ashanti in central Ghana have been fraudulently increased. The governing party claims their observers were assaulted in eastern border Volta region, an opposition stronghold, and could not monitor Sunday's runoff.
Atta Mills and Akufo-Addo, both aged 64 and British-educated barristers, topped a field of eight candidates but neither received more than the required 50 percent in the first round of voting on Dec. 7. They are vying to succeed President John Kufuor, who is retiring after two terms as required by law.
Ghana is a rare example of democracy in a region of totalitarian states. The country suffered back-to-back coups in the 1970s and 1980s but then took a turn toward democracy when strongman Jerry Rawlings organized elections. He won two terms, then surprised the world by ceding power when his party's candidate lost the 2000 vote.
Ghana's foreign investment has grown more than 2,000 percent and exports have more than doubled since the ruling party took office eight years ago. Yet many say there is little to show for all the statistics indicating success. Ghana remains one of the world's poorest countries. One in 10 adults is unemployed and 40 percent of the population cannot read or write. The average citizen earns $3.80 a day and is dead at 59.
On Monday, the influential and independent Radio Joy FM announced it "has projected Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress as Ghana's next president." It predicted that Atta Mills would win with 50.47 percent of votes.
Singing and dancing supporters of the academic spilled into the streets to declare their victory.
The governing party challenged the radio station's call.
Akufo-Addo, a 30-year veteran of Ghanaian politics, has campaigned on his party's success in driving the economy in Ghana, the world's No. 2 cocoa producer and the latest African nation to discover oil. Ghana's economy has grown by more than 6 percent annually since Akufo-Addo's party took office eight years ago. Investment has grown 20-fold and the discovery of oil is expected to boost state coffers by more than 20 percent with between $2 and $3 billion a year.
Atta Mills, a tax specialist, accuses the governing party of corruption.
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On the Net:
http://www.attamills2008.com
http://www.akufoaddo.org
http://www.myjoyonline.com


Updated : 2021-08-02 23:20 GMT+08:00