Accessibility links

Presidential Run-Off Election Will be Held In Ghana


Vote counting continues from Sunday's elections in Ghana with two leading candidates in a tight race to be the country's next president. Both Nana Akufo-Addo of the governing party and opposition candidate John Atta-Mills are veteran politicians with long histories of service to the country.

Many analysts say that although the campaign to be Ghana's next president was intense and sometimes personal, government policies are not likely to change drastically, no matter which candidate wins.

President John Kufuor is retiring after eight years in office. The candidate and fellow-founder of his New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, is a 64-year-old former attorney-general and foreign minister whose father and grandfather were part of Ghana's early nationalist elite.

An analyst with Accra's Center for Democratic Development, Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, says Akufo-Addo also founded the Ghana Committee on Human and People's Rights. As attorney-general he helped repeal laws restricting freedom of expression and drafted a law investigating human rights abuses in his country.

"He has a long and glorious track record of human rights activism, going for about 30 years back. He is fairly dynamic and does project a vision of moving the country properly into the 21st Century," said Gyimah-Boadi.

The Africa director of London-based Chatham House, Alex Vines, says Akufo-Addo is likely to continue his predecessor's economic policies.

"He's [Akufo-Addo] certainly a supporter of free market economies and said that he has wanted to see Ghana develop into a modern, responsible and educated nation," said Vines.

Vines notes that the other leading candidate, John Atta-Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress, is running for the presidency for a third time. The 64-year-old law professor was defeated by Mr. Kufuor in 2004 in another close race.

"He [Atta-Mills] has served as a vice president before but he does see this as his last chance at the bid of the presidency of Ghana," added Vines.

Atta-Mills is also an expert on tax law who introduced the value added tax to Ghana. Gyimah-Boadi says he, too, is a member of the political elite.

"He comes to this with solid credentials, a solid member of the Ghanaian political establishment. He's generally considered humble. He is considered to be responsible and a man of peace," said Gyimah-Boadi.

Atta-Mills is a close associate of former President Jerry Rawlings who came to power in a coup 27 years ago preaching revolution and war on corruption.

After a decade of political turbulence and economic decline in Ghana, Mr. Rawlings introduced economic and political reforms. He handed over power to Mr. Kufuor eight years ago following national elections.

Many Ghanaians say the struggle against poverty and corruption is not over. But their choices for president indicate they appreciate the stability and relative prosperity of recent years and would prefer that this continue.

XS
SM
MD
LG