Ghana's president, John Kufuor, is thanking voters for giving him another four-year term in office. President Kufuor said Friday that Ghana has proven itself to the world as a model of democracy. Election officials say the president won 53 percent of the vote in Tuesday's poll. They say ballots from a few districts have not yet been counted, but those results will not change the final outcome.
Mr. Kufuor's nearest rival, John Atta Mills, took 44 percent of the vote. He conceded defeat today but condemned what he called "acts of intimidation and violence" against members of his party. Election officials say there were only isolated incidents of violence. Initial results from Ghana's parliamentary elections -- also held Tuesday -- show the ruling New Patriotic Party taking a strong lead. Final results are expected in the next few days.
Turn out was just over 83 percent in the fourth presidential election since Ghana became a multi-party state in 1992. Some say President Kufuor?s campaign is proof that voters have rejected the legacy and party of former ruler Jerry Rawlings. He had lent his support to President Kufuor?s main challenger John Atta Mills.
Baffour Agyeman-Duah is the Associate Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development. He told English-to-Africa reporter William Eagle that he believes the race would have been much closer had Mr. Atta Mills been linked with President Rawlings, who reportedly told the press he would ?be back? on December 7th, as a result of the polls. The former president also created controversy when he accused Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo of interfering in the elections, and favoring President Kufuor?s reelection. Press accounts say he accused President Obasanjo of sending Nigerian troops to intimidate voters and of being involved in voter fraud. But Dr. Agyeman-Duah says no Nigerian troops have been seen, while many agree the elections have had a low number of irregularities.