Ghana Election Results Delayed

Ghana's Electoral Commission has delayed the release of final results from Sunday's presidential run-off. Provisional results show the opposition candidate with a slight lead over the ruling-party candidate.

Ghana's Electoral Commission has postponed its planned announcement of the final results to confer with members of both the ruling National Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress.

Opposition candidate John Atta-Mills held a slim lead over ruling-party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo with more than 200 of Ghana's 230 districts reporting. Opposition supporters surrounded the Electoral Commission overnight chanting "change, change."

Soldiers and police backed by water cannon kept opposition members behind barricades surrounding the commission headquarters in the capital. With the commission's decision to delay announcing a final winner Tuesday, a reporter for VOA in Accra says some banks around the commission headquarters have closed and sent their employees home fearing possible violence.

Atta-Mills told reporters that he expects to be named the winner and is urging his supporters to stay calm.

Ruling party chairman Peter Mac Manu says Ghanian media predictions of a win by the opposition are premature, and his party will challenge what it considers flawed results already reported from some regions.

Ruling party candidate Akufo-Addo defeated Atta-Mills in the first round of balloting earlier this month. But because neither man won more than 50 percent of the votes cast, they went head-to-head Sunday to determine who will succeed out-going President John Kufuor.

Akufo-Addo is a 64-year-old former attorney general and foreign minister who campaigned on the strength of improvements in Ghana's economy, health care and infrastructure during the Kufuor administration.

Opposition candidate Atta-Mills is a 64-year-old tax law professor who campaigned against the ruling party, saying it is time for a change after what he calls eight years of "miserable failure."

Atta-Mills was vice president to Ghana's former leader Jerry Rawlings, who came to power in a coup 27 years ago. Mr. Rawlings introduced some economic and political reforms before handing over to President Kufuor eight years ago.

Whoever wins will govern with a decidedly different parliament, as the ruling New Patriotic Party lost its legislative majority in the first round, dropping 21 seats to finish with 107 of the 228 seats in parliament. The opposition National Democratic Congress party picked up 20 seats to finish with 114 seats. 

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