Ghana: election results postponed

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The final results of the Ghanaian elections won’t be known until next week despite promises from the West African country’s Electoral Commission that the winner would be announced by Tuesday. According to the Commission the few votes separating the two candidates make it practically impossible to declare a clear winner. A new election, to be held in one of the remaining constituencies, will help ascertain a clear victor.

Ghanaians will have to wait another week to know the next president of their country. The Electoral Commission has announced a new date for the release of final results next weekend. According to published results, only 23 055 votes separate the two candidates. John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is in the lead with 4.501.466 votes (50.13%) while Nana Akuffo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party follows closely with 4.478.411 votes (49.87%).

These results, which put John atta-Mills ahead in the votes counted so far, exclude votes from one out of 230 constituencies. Results from Tain, a constituency in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana, could change the final outcome.

Sunday’s elections in Tain, an NPP stronghold, were cancelled due to problems with election logistics encountered in the constituency. Delays caused by ballot transportation and an eventual cancellation of the electoral exercise has led the Electoral Commission to set a new date, January 2, 2009, to conduct new elections in the 37,000 electorate-strong constituency.

According to sources in Accra, both parties are contesting results from some contituencies both in the Ashanti and Volta regions. It is also claimed that some votes from the Ashanti region which highly favoured the NPP were cancelled amid claims of fraud from the NDC. Following similar charges from the NPP, the Electoral Commission has invited the party to furnish them with evidence of fraud if they want votes from those contituencies (in the Volta region) to be cancelled.

The closeness of the results is an indicator of how divided the country is in terms of party support, leaving very little room for error on the part of the Electoral Commission.

Ernest Andoh, a member of one of the parties that did not make it past the first round, Wednesday, confirmed that tensions are not as high as some have suggested, « we are calm, everybody has returned to their respective jobs. We are only waiting for the final results on the 2nd of January, which could go either way, really… » he said.

Earlier, AFP reported that the atmosphere in Accra was tense as NDC supporters, weilding tree branches and sticks, protested in front of the offices of the Electoral Commission.

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