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Ghana presidential contenders neck-and-neck in early count

Partial unofficial results showed Ghana's election is neck-and-neck on Monday as votes were counted after general elections held up as a shining example for the rest of Africa.

Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party The New Patriotic Party is the ruling liberal party in Ghana and one of two dominant parties in Ghanaian politics. The party is centrist, but is considered to be more liberal than its leading rival, the National Democratic Congress. It supplies president John Agyekum Kufuor.  (NPP NPP Nuclear Power Plant
NPP Net Primary Production
NPP Net Primary Productivity
NPP Notice of Privacy Practices (US HIPAA medical patient privacy)
NPP National Priorities Project
NPP New Patriotic Party (Ghana) 
) held a slight lead, according to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 partial unofficial results broadcast by independent television and radio stations.

TV3 said that based on results from 91 out of 230 constituencies, Akufo-Addo has 49.53 percent of the votes, compared with 48.28 percent for John Atta-Mills Prof. John Evans Atta Mills (born July 21, 1944[1]) is a Ghanaian politician and former vice-president who has twice ran unsuccessfully for president as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress.  of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC NDC National Drug Code
NDC NATO Defense College
NDC National Documentation Centre (National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece)
NDC National Dairy Council
NDC National Democratic Congress
).

All the other candidates have so far garnered less than two percent of the vote, according to the same figures.

Results given on the website of the Joy FM radio show a similar trend with Akufo-Addo taking a slight lead.

Based on results so far the election is still too close to call.Seven presidential aspirants were in the race to succeed John Kufuor John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor (born in Kumasi December 8, 1938) is the current president of Ghana, since January 7 2001. He ran for election in 2000 and won, succeeding Jerry Rawlings, who defeated him when he previously ran for President in the election in 1996, and having the first , who stands down early January after serving the maximum of two four-year terms.

Provisional results should be released within three days, with a possible second round scheduled for December 28 if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of votes.

The major contest is between Kufuor's ruling NPP and the opposition NDC of fiery former ruler Jerry Rawlings Jerry John Rawlings (born Jeremiah Rawlings John June 22, 1947 in Accra) was twice the head of state of Ghana, a military dictator. He first appeared on the Ghanaian political scene on May 15, 1979 when an unsuccessful coup d'├ętat he led resulted in his arrest, imprisonment, , who held power until the 2000 elections.

The former British colony, which was the first African state to gain its independence in 1957, was plagued by coups until the return to multi-party democracy in 1992.

Sunday's vote appeared free of the intimidation and violence that have marred other recent African polls, according to local and international observers.

Former Nigerian leader General Yakubu Gowon, who was heading an observer mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ECOWAS Economic Community Of West African States ), described the polls as "excellent".

"It's really been excellent, peaceful. You cannot try to compare these elections to any other on the continent except with South Africa, that's the only country considered democratic," Gowon told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. .

Valerie Amos, a former British minister who is heading up a Commonwealth observer mission, gave the polls a similarly clean bill of health.

"This election for Ghana is yet another transition in terms of a maturing democracy," Amos told AFP.

"It's important for the world to see there are countries on the African continent where elections can be held peacefully."

Violence and allegations of fraud have dogged a series of recent elections in Africa This page lists the most recent (direct) national elections in African countries.

Table of contents
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
.

At least 1,500 people died in violence that swept Kenya in the wake of disputed elections there last December while the opposition leader pulled out of a run-off in June in Zimbabwe after scores of his supporters were killed.

And at least 200 people were killed last month in the central Nigerian city of Jos following clashes over the result of a local election.

"Our impression is that it's... an example to many other countries in Africa that have not been able to go through successful elections," Gowon said.

Once economically stagnant, Ghana has enjoyed steady growth in recent years and the next president will be able to tap into revenue from oil wealth when it starts pumping oil in 2010 offshore near the port of Takoradi.

Ghana's oil is set to upstage the gold, cocoa and timber exports it previously relied on.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Dec 8, 2008
Words:539
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