Ghana's Electoral Commission has delayed the release of final results from Sunday's presidential run-off because of problems with voting materials in one of the country's 230 districts. Voters in that district will re-cast their ballots Friday.
Ghana's Electoral Commission said it will not announce a winner in the presidential race until after voters in the western district of Tain cast their ballots again. In Sunday's run-off between ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo and opposition candidate John Atta-Mills, polling stations in Tain were short 1,008 ballot papers. So voters there will go to the polls again on Friday.
With all but the Tain votes counted, the commission said Atta-Mills has received 50.13 percent of the vote. Akufo-Addo has received 49.87 percent.
|NDC supporters celebrate after learning John Atta Mills is leading in presidential elections in Accra, 30 Dec 2008|
Electoral Commission Chairman Kwado Afari-Gyan said the 53,000 people registered to vote in Tain could very well decide Ghana's next president.
"The results are so close, the results of the Tain constituency could affect the eventual winner," said Kwado.
Gyan did not say when the Electoral Commission would announce a winner. Before Friday's revoting in Tain, he is asking the ruling National Patriotic Party to substantiate allegations of vote rigging in the Volta region. He said the commission will investigate allegations of fraud by both the ruling party and the opposition National Democratic Congress, and the outcome of that investigation will be factored into the final outcome.
Ruling party candidate Akufo-Addo defeated Atta-Mills in the first round of balloting earlier this month. But because neither man won more than 50 percent of the votes cast, they went head-to-head Sunday to determine who will succeed out-going President John Kufuor.
|Ruling party presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, (File photo)|
Opposition supporters surrounded the Electoral Commission Tuesday waiting for the expected announcement of a winner. They were kept behind barricades by soldiers and police backed by water cannons. Some banks and businesses in the area closed fearing possible violence.
Opposition candidate Atta-Mills is urging his supporters to stay calm.
Ruling party chairman Peter Mac Manu said Ghanian media predictions of a win by the opposition are premature.
The NPP's Akufo-Addo is a 64-year-old former attorney general and foreign minister who campaigned on the strength of improvements in Ghana's economy, health care and infrastructure during the Kufuor administration.
Opposition candidate Atta-Mills is a 64-year-old tax law professor who campaigned against the ruling party saying it is time for a change after what he called eight years of "miserable failure."
|Opposition Presidential candidate John Atta Mills, (file photo)|
Atta-Mills was vice president to Ghana's former leader Jerry Rawlings who came to power in a coup 27 years ago. Mr. Rawlings introduced some economic and political reforms before handing over power to President Kufuor eight years ago.
Whoever wins will govern with a decidedly different parliament, as the ruling party lost its legislative majority in the first round, dropping 21 seats to finish with 107 of the 228 seats in parliament. The opposition NDC picked up 20 seats to finish with 114 seats.