​Ghana president and opponent are neck and neck as vote count continues

​“The elections have generally been peaceful, far more peaceful than anticipated,” Seidu Alidu, an analyst.

Ghanaian President John Mahama and his main opponent in Wednesday’s elections were neck and neck after the release of early provisional results as both candidates claimed the lead in the race for the presidency.

Mahama of the National Democratic Congress led the count winning 50.8% of 635 708 votes from 21 of the West African nation’s 275 constituencies, according to results published Thursday on the website of Citi FM, a broadcaster based in the capital, Accra. Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party had 47.5% of the vote, Citi FM said. Ghana’s electoral commission hasn’t yet verified the results.

The NPP said Akufo-Addo has won 4.6-million votes, against 3.64-million for Mahama, citing its own calculation of votes based on 80% of results nationwide. The NDC said Mahama was in a “comfortable lead” and advised its supporters to wait for certified results.

Both Akufo-Addo, 72, and Mahama, the 58-year-old incumbent seeking a second four-year term, campaigned with pledges to reignite growth in West Africa’s second-biggest economy. It’s projected to grow 3.3% this year, the slowest rate in two decades, after delays in new oil projects weighed on the country’s income.

Observers say the vote have been conducted largely without delays or irregularities.

Generally Peaceful
“The elections have generally been peaceful, far more peaceful than anticipated,” Seidu Alidu, an analyst at the department of political sciences at the University of Ghana in Accra, said by phone on Wednesday. “If things are going to continue the way it started, I don’t thing there would be a basis for people to dispute the results.”

In 90% of the more than 28 900 stations, all election materials were available when polls opened, while 93% were operational by 8am, an hour after the scheduled start, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, a network of civil society groups observing the elections, told reporters in Accra.

Voter registers and biometric verification devices were available at 95% of polling stations and ballot boxes were shown to be empty everywhere prior to the start, the group said.

Voting will continue Thursday in at least one constituency in the central Brong Ahafo region, after a dispute between the major parties over the voter register, Eric Dzakpasu, a spokesman for the Ghana Electoral Commission, said by phone. — Bloomberg

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