Voting for president begins in Ghana’s key district

January 2nd, 2009 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Lagos, Dec 2 (Xinhua) Voting began Friday in a remote farming region of Ghana in an election that will decide who will be the next president of the West African country despite attempts by the ruling party to stop the election from taking place, according to new reaching here from Accra. Voting will close at 5 p.m. in Tain district, the last of the country’s 230 constituencies, which failed to hold the presidential run-off last Sunday following problems in preparations.

Ballots have been counted from the 229 other constituencies, showing that the candidate from the opposition party slightly leads in the presidential run-off.

The second round race was between Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and John Evans Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

In the first round held Dec 7, 2008, neither Akufo-Addo nor Atta Mills had obtained the required 50 percent of votes needed for an outright win, according to the electoral commission of Ghana.

Fearing defeat in this round of polls, the NPP Thursday brought two court cases in an attempt to turn its fortunes around.

The first case was aimed at stopping the electoral commission from announcing the results until the NPP’s allegations of fraud in the NCD Stronghold of Volta were addressed.

The court refused to hear the case.

The NPP then sought an injunction preventing the voting in Tain from going ahead. But the electoral commission said late Thursday that the election would go ahead as it had not received any injunction.

The election is seen as key to African democracy, which sorely needs a boost after electoral chaos in Kenya and Zimbabwe and coups in Mauritania and Guinea this year.

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