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President Kufuor Likely to Win Second Term as Ghana Awaits Election Results

Ghanaians are still awaiting official results from presidential and parliamentary elections held Tuesday. Although certified results have been delayed, provisional counts point to a clear first round victory for the current president and a substantial percentage of the parliamentary seats going to the ruling party.

Incumbent John Kufuor, of the New Patriotic Party, is set to win a second and final four-year term as president of Ghana. The Electoral Commission has released results from the majority of constituencies and President Kufuor has more than 50 percent of the votes needed to sweep the presidency in one round of voting.

An election analyst George Sarpong says President Kufuor was expected to win, but he says the opposition party, the National Democratic Congress performed better than expected.

"The presidential election is not too surprising," he noted. "The figures as of now indicate President Kufuor is in the lead. If there is any surprise at all, it is how well the N.D.C. [National Democratic Congress], the opposition, has performed. The opinion polls put them around 35 percent. At this point, what we know is that they've taken at least 40 percent of the vote, which is very impressive."

The candidate for the National Democratic Congress, John Evans Atta Mills had faced off against President Kufuor in the last election in 2000. Neither candidate succeeded in securing more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round that time and the vote had to go to a second round.

Results had originally been expected Wednesday, but Mr. Sarpong says party agents from the National Democratic Congress were refusing to sign off on the tally sheets at polling stations.

"We have about 20,000 plus polling stations. At each polling station, you count the vote immediately after ballot closes and there are party and candidate agents who are supposed to certify the results," he said. "And the reports that are given to the Electoral Commission are valid only when these people have signed."

Mr. Sarpong says most of the party agents were not disputing the results but were unsure who from their party was officially designated to sign the final tally sheet.

But there have been reports from several polling stations that opposition party representatives claimed that more people had cast votes than were registered and they were disputing the final counts.

The New Patriotic Party has also secured the majority of parliament seats. Thirty new constituencies were designated in this year's election up from just 200 in 2000.

One observer noted that the ruling party had been strategic in delineating the new areas along districts that were party supporters.

The Electoral Commission says they will release the final certified results once they are sure there is a clear winner. By law, they must announce a winner by the end of the day Friday.