News24

Ghana votes in general election

2012-12-07 12:19

Accra - Voting was underway in Ghana on Friday, in a general election seen as a test for the country's "model democracy" in the often tumultuous West African region.

About 13.6 million people were expected to cast their ballots for Ghana's next president and for the 275 parliamentary candidates in Africa's cocoa and oil-producing state.

The presidential race was expected to be a tight one between incumbent president John Dramani Mahama, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and his main opponent Nana Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

In the 2008 elections, the NDC candidate, John Atta Mills, won the presidential seat by only about 40 000 votes and ruled the world's third-largest cocoa producing country until his sudden death in July, when vice president John Dramani Mahama was inaugurated in a smooth transitional process.

Provisional election results are expected to be announced about 48 hours after polls close. If no candidate wins 50% plus one of the votes, a run-off is to be held on December 28.

Ghana was the first African nation to gain independence from its colonial ruler, Britain, and has been praised for its stable multi-party democracy.