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Ghana’s Electoral Commission to Declare Winner of Run-off Election Tuesday

The chairman of Ghana's Independent Electoral Commission Kojo Afari-Djan is expected to officially declare the winner of Sunday's presidential run-off election Tuesday. The run-off was between Nana Akufu Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and John Atta-Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Neither party garner the over 50 percent of the minimum votes needed to win the December seventh general election. Most independent radio and television stations in Ghana have unanimously projected opposition leader Atta Mills as the country's next president. But the ruling NPP is sharply disputing the run-off election results. Korku Anyidoho is the communications director of the Atta-Mills campaign. He told Peter Clottey the opposition is unhappy with the new figures the ruling party has been peddling around.

"The NDC is displeased because figures that came in yesterday from certain constituencies in the Ashanti region that and the different figures that are coming in from those same constituencies and obviously the numbers have been up. We already have a problem with the kind of figures that are coming from the Ashanti region, but even then the NDC is prepared to work with it. Then suddenly strange figures started coming from the Ashanti region again and that is the source of concern for the NDC," Anyidoho pointed out.

He said there are suspicions surrounding what he described as bloating figures in the Ashanti region, the strong hold of the ruling party.

"If you are looking at a ridiculous percentage already, you are having around 85, 86, 87 percentage voter turnouts in the Ashanti region alone as compared to the national average that is already a problem. Suddenly, you are now having 99.9 percentage turnouts per the new figures that are being churned out from the Ashanti region," he said.

Anyidoho said the opposition NDC overwhelmingly won eight out of Ghana's 10 regions, which he said should make the party's presidential candidate the winner of Sunday's election run-off vote.

"Professor Mills has won regions and even in Akufu-Addo's home region of the Eastern region, the NDC got about 40 percent. So, why are we going to sit down to allow one region to hijack the presidency? It is not going to happen. I mean assuming the numbers even existed, and so one region would take out the eight or nine regions, we have no problems. But obviously this attempt to use one region to arm-twist the democratic process is something that we are finding it very difficult to accept," Anyidoho pointed out.

He said the opposition party expects its presidential candidate to be officially declared winner of the run-off election Tuesday.

"Dr. Afari-Djan has a reputation and we hope that he would not sacrifice his reputation on the order of some parochial political expediency. And so, we expect that today, Dr. Afari-Djan going by the results and the figures that have come out and are already in the public domain that he would declare that professor Mills is the president elect of the republic of Ghana," he noted.

Meanwhile the ruling NPP said some of the results in its stronghold needed to be corrected after errors were detected. Stephen Asamoah-Baoteng, Ghana's information minister said told VOA that Ghanaians should wait for the electoral commission to declare the winner of the run-off.

"Obviously, everybody knows that the results are declared by the electoral commission, and not by political parties or radio stations. Radio stations and television networks can call in results, but they are only provisional until the EC (Electoral Commission) has certified and declared it. Some radio stations have taken it upon themselves to declare results themselves without giving the caveat that those are provisional results. So, they've declared that the opposition has won," Asamoah-Baoteng noted.

He said there are still some votes to be properly authenticated by the electoral commission.

"There are about 18 constituencies yet to be certified. The electoral commission has not come out and they (opposition) apparently want to celebrate. So, this is the problem," he said.

Asamoah-Baoteng denied the ruling party is trying to "massage" some of the election results, arguing that some mistakes were made, which he said needed to be corrected.

"Well, I don't know who has been saying that (accusation), but polling stations results are obviously declared at the stations. But sometimes you do have problems for instance in my constituency, some figures that were meant for the NPP were put in front of the NDC until somebody noticed it, and you could see clearly that the figures were then canceled and changed. And so the electoral officers obviously sometimes make mistakes so I don't know why they (opposition) has not waited for the electoral commission. The results that came from some areas have not been challenged anywhere. So, why would others be challenging and there is a question about it?" Asamoah-Baoteng asked.

He sharply denied that the ruling party is refusing to accept defeat and hand over power as is being speculated by some.

"The question is who is holding power and who doesn't want to hand over power? Election results are declared by the electoral commission so that is the problem with the opposition. They have put out propaganda machinery that they have won using provisional figures that they got by some radio stations. So, through that they think that somebody doesn't want to hand over power," he said.