Ghana leader calls for calm amid revote
NSAWKAW, Ghana - Ghana's leader appealed for calm and urged his people to accept the results of a tight presidential election as voters in a single district cast ballots yesterday that could decide the West African nation's next president.
The ruling party candidate, however, said the race was not over and his party would challenge the results in court.
Residents of the tiny western district of Tain were unable to take part in Sunday's nationwide runoff because not enough ballots were distributed. A makeup vote was held there peacefully yesterday, despite the ruling party's attempts to stop it.
"What we need to have is peace," farmer Kwadwo Fordjour said as he waited to vote in Nsawkaw.
Election results from all other districts show opposition leader John Atta Mills ahead of his ruling party rival Nana Akufo-Addo by only around 23,000 votes out of more than 9 million cast.
Some 53,000 people are registered to vote in Tain, so ballots there could decide the election. During the Dec. 7 first round, Atta Mills narrowly won the district.
Voting ended in Tain peacefully and on schedule, and electoral officials began counting ballots immediately afterward. State radio said results would be announced today, but officials of the Electoral Commission could not be reached for comment.
Tensions ran high this week and both sides have claimed irregularities in other districts, challenges that may be brought to court.
President John Kufuor said it was "important to meet the constitutional timetable" for handing power over Wednesday to his yet-to-be named successor. "I therefore urge all the stakeholders to yield to the authority of the electoral commissioner when he declares the results. Any outstanding issues may be settled by due process later," Kufuor said.
Both candidates are 64-year-old lawyers educated in Britain. They are vying to succeed Kufuor, who must step down after serving two terms.
After meeting with party leaders in Accra, Akufo-Addo told gathered supporters he was not ready to give up his fight for the presidency. He accused opposition party supporters of assaulting his supporters in the eastern Volta Region. He said those charges had been made in court to the Electoral Commission. "It is not over yet, and Mills must talk to his supporters to behave themselves," Akufo-Addo said. "We went into an election and not a fight."