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December 11, 2012

Ghana's Main Opposition Party to Challenge Election

by Laura Burke

Ghana's main opposition party decided Tuesday to contest the presidential election in court, accusing the ruling party of fraud.  The electoral commission had declared John Dramani Mahama, the incumbent, the winner of last week's election.

The New Patriotic Party says the tallies of votes from polling stations in last week’s presidential election are inconsistent with the declared results announced Sunday.  The opposition party says there was tampering at the centers where the votes were transferred.

​​The current president, John Dramani Mahama won the election by 50.7 percent according to the electoral commission. International observers have called the election free and fair.

But New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo said Monday it looks like something seriously went wrong with this election.

“All of the information we have, the primary data, the results of the polling stations are consistently not tallying with many of the declared results…there would seem to be a serious case for saying that something has gone wrong," Akufo-Addo said.

New Patriotic Party chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey announced Tuesday the party would not accept the results.

“With the abundant evidence we have gathered, the NPP cannot therefore accept the declared results of the election. The party has thus instructed its legal team to file a petition in the supreme court to challenge the illegitimately declared elections…We are fully confident that the evidence that we will present to the court will clearly invalidate the declaration of John Mahama as the victor," Lamptey said.
 
Some in the region have expressed concern this move could throw Ghana’s standing as a beacon of democracy into jeopardy. On Monday, African Union chairman Thomas Yayi Boni asked Akufo-Addo to concede defeat.

But Lamptey said NPP supporters are already angry and conceding defeat would not solve the problem.

“What we seek to do is direct that anger into legal channels so that we can actually strengthen the democratic credentials of our country and the democratic processes of our country rather than having the sort of situation that has occurred elsewhere where you end up without peace and you don’t have the legal thing either,” Lamptey said.

The party said their lawyers would bring the matter to the Supreme Court within the next couple of days.