Ghana starts new year on the good foot with peaceful elections

Publié le par hort

Ghana: Secretary-General Welcomes Peaceful Polls

5 January 2009


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people and Government of Ghana on the peaceful and organized end to their recent presidential and legislative elections. "Ghanaians can and should take pride in this democratic achievement," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson. "With their continuing show of commitment to the democratic process, Ghana and its leaders are setting an admirable example." He noted the dedication and professionalism of the West African nation's Electoral Commission, and commended the political parties and their leadership for their "statesmanlike conduct" during the polls' final stages.

Opposition leader wins Ghana poll


Opposition candidate John Atta Mills has won a tight presidential run-off in Ghana, saying he will be "a president for all". Electoral officials announced the result after the last constituency to vote showed him extending his lead over his rival, Nana Akufo-Addo. Mr Akufo-Addo congratulated Mr Atta Mills, but a spokesman said the party would challenge the result in court. Officials say there was no evidence of vote-rigging, as alleged by both sides. The run-off, with the last vote held in Tain constituency, was closely watched as Ghana remains a rare example of a functioning democracy in West Africa. The ruling party had boycotted the Tain constituency vote.



The electoral commission said the results of the run-off showed Mr Atta Mills had won narrowly with 50.23% of the votes, against 49.77% for Mr Akufo-Addo. "On the basis of the official results given, it is my duty to declare Professor John Evans Atta Mills the president-elect of the Republic of Ghana," the commission's head, Kwado Afari-Gyan, said in the capital, Accra. He said the commission had considered allegations of vote-rigging by both sides but "did not find the evidence provided sufficient to invalidate the result".


Outgoing President John Kufuor earlier urged both candidates to respect the final result. He appealed for calm and said any complaints of vote-rigging should be dealt with by the courts after the new president is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday. Addressing jubilant supporters on the streets of Accra around the NDC headquarters, Mr Atta Mills, who had failed twice before to become president, said: "The time has come to work together to build a better Ghana."I assure Ghanaians that I will be president for all." He also congratulated "all other contestants, especially Nana Akufo-Addo, for giving us a good fight."


Although Ghana remains a very divided nation when it comes to choosing a president, it has proved that democracy can work, BBC correspondent Will Ross in Accra says. Mr Atta Mills, aged 64, is a former vice-president. He lost two previous elections to President Kufuor. Mr Akufo-Addo, also 64, from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won the first round of the presidential election but not by enough to avoid the run-off. On Saturday, he told reporters: "I acknowledge the electoral commissioner's declaration and congratulate Professor Mills," Reuters news agency reported. A spokesman later told the BBC that, contrary to earlier reports, he had not conceded defeat, and that the ruling party would go to court to contest the result.


Analysts says Ghana's poll could help salvage the tarnished image of constitutional democracy in Africa, after last year's flawed elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe and military coups in Mauritania and Guinea. The stakes have been raised in these elections because Ghana has just found oil, which is expected to start generating revenue in 2010.

Publié dans contemporary africa

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