Ghana holds presidential, parliamentary elections

December 7th, 2008 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Accra, Dec 7 (Xinhua) An estimated 21,000 electorate in Ghana cast their votes Sunday to elect a new president and a new parliament in the second democratic exercise in half a century after the west African country gained independence from the British rule in 1957.Hours after voting started, national TV channel GTV footage showed a generally orderly and peaceful election.

A large group of foreign observers, including a team of 200 from the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS), are in Ghana to monitor the elections.

Eight candidates are running for president, and various opinion polls have predicted close fight between New Patriotic Party hopeful Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and John Evans Atta Mills of the main opposition party National Democratic Congress.

Result of the presidential race is expected to come out Wednesday. If no candidate wins in the first round, there would be a run-off between the top two candidates in two weeks, according to the EC.

For the parliamentary election, a total of 1,060 candidates have filed nominations to contest for seats in the 230-seat legislature. Of the candidates, 957 are men and 103 women.

Once a British colony, Ghana was the first African nation to achieve independence from Britain in 1957 and was created as a parliamentary democracy that was alternately run by military and civilian governments.

Ghana’s constitution divides powers among a president, parliament, cabinet, council of state, and an independent judiciary. The government is elected by universal suffrage.

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