Ghana: EC Declares President Mahama Is Winner

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has declared President John Dramani Mahama winner of the presidential elections.

He polled 5.57 million or 50.70 percent of the 10,995,262 valid votes cast to edge out closest challenger, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party who polled 5.24 million votes or 47.74 percent.

As high as 251,720 of the total 11,246,982 votes cast were deemed invalid or rejected. Total registered voters stood at 14,158,890.

In all eight men including an independent candidate contested to become the next president. Also at stake was the contest for 275 seats in parliament by 1,332 candidates from 14 of the 23 registered political parties. Out of the number, 133 are female contestants.

This is the sixth time that Ghanaians have gone to the polls to elect a President and Members of Parliament after the country returned to civilian rule in 1992, following 3 previous democratic regimes that were truncated and interspersed by 5 different military interventions since the country gained independence in 1957 from the British.

The election was a closely fought one which made it difficult for an early prediction of the winner. This is the lowest win an incumbent party going for a second term has got since Ghana returned to democratic rule in 1992. In 19996, the ruling party led by Jerry John Rawlings won by 57.4% while John Agyekum Kufuor won by 52.45 percent.

However the relatively low margin obtained by the NDC's John Mahama could partially be as a result of the fiercely contested elections four years ago which was won by some 40,000 votes only. The margin was so small that the opposition NPP considered a return to power a very high possibility.

No second round

Although, no one dismissed the possibility of a second round ahead of the elections, there was a general desire by many people to see the elections end in the first run.

The reason was partly because of the thought of queuing up again to vote and the general fatigue associated with campaign activities. Additionally, the tension that characterized the second round of 2008 which nearly brought the country to its knees, appeared to be fresh in the minds of the public.

Some also said the avoidance of a second run meant that the public was assured of an uninterrupted festive season during the yuletide.

So palpable was the desire to avoid the second run that commentators, political analysts and journalists openly admitted on various radio and television programmes their wish that there was no run-off.

The poor performance of the other six contestants also helped in great measure the attainment of a first found victory. Together the other contestants obtained 1.56 percent or 171, 603 votes.

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