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Ghana is seen as a solid democracy in an unstable region

Ghana presidential candidates both confident of win; official results delayed

A woman casts her vote at a polling station during Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections in Kyebi, Ghana on December 7, 2020.
A woman casts her vote at a polling station during Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections in Kyebi, Ghana on December 7, 2020.
Image: FRANCIS KOKOROKO

The two leading candidates in Ghana's presidential election said on Tuesday they are confident of victory based on their own tallies, as the schedule for the announcement of official results was delayed.

Ghana's ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) said on Tuesday morning that President Nana Akufo-Addo held a slight lead in his bid for re-election, with 52.72% of the votes from 88% of polling stations.

But on Tuesday night, his main rival, former President John Mahama, said he had won 10 of 16 regions according to his camp's preliminary tally.

"I am happy with the results," Mahama said in a speech. "We will resist any attempt to subvert the will of the people."

Both sides have said they will also likely come away with a majority in the parliamentary vote.

Ghana is seen as a solid democracy in an unstable region where election disputes this year have prompted fears of a democratic backslide.

Free of pressing concerns about security or ethnic unrest, the main candidates have been able to focus on their competing plans to end an economic crisis in West Africa's second-largest economy.

Ghana emerged last year from a three-year lending programme with the International Monetary Fund only for the coronavirus pandemic to knock demand for its key exports of oil and cocoa, leading to the economy's first quarterly contraction in nearly 40 years.

The election commission was expected to announce results on Tuesday but said in a statement that they will be delayed, without giving an updated schedule.

The two main parties have alternated in power since 1992 and this was the third straight election in which Akufo-Addo and Mahama have faced off.

They agreed last week to resolve any disputes in court after fears that unofficial security groups hired by politicians could disrupt the vote.

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