Thu, Jan 01, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Ghana poll results still unknown

‘READY FOR TAIN’ The opposition National Democratic Congress was confident that its candidate, John Atta-Mills, will be declared the winner, perhaps tomorrow

AFP , ACCRA

Election officials on Tuesday told Ghana’s opposition, which has claimed victory in a presidential run-off poll, that it would have to wait until at least tomorrow for definitive results to be announced.

The country’s election commission said the result of the ballot could be affected by voting tomorrow in the country’s 230th constituency Tain, which was unable to complete polling on Sunday.

“As of now Professor [John] Atta-Mills is in the lead,” commission head Kwado Afari-Gyan told reporters, referring to the opposition party candidate.

But he added that “the results of the Tain election could make a difference.”

Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) officials, however, said they were confident the party would be declared the winner.

“We are ready for Tain and definitely we will win. Prof [Mills] is not perturbed at all,” said Korku Anyedohu, a spokesman for Atta-Mills.

The commission said Atta-Mills currently has 50.13 percent of votes casts, against 49.87 percent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), based on results from 229 constituencies.

“The results from Tain constituency could affect the eventual winner so we have decided elections in Tain will be held this coming Friday, 2 January,” Afari-Gyan said.

Tain, in the center-west Brong Ahafo region, did not vote Sunday after a mix-up over the distribution of ballot papers, the commission’s public affairs officer Christian Owusu-Parry said.

Afari-Gyan did not say when the commission would make public final results as it also intends to investigate allegations of fraud made by both parties.

“The outcome of this investigation will be factored in to the final determination of the winner,” he said.

At NPP headquarters the mood was still one of cautious optimism.

“The difference between the two candidates is very small, 23,000, and Tain has 53,000 registered voters so it can change the fortunes of the elections,” NPP national chairman Peter MacManu said.

Atta-Mills had already claimed victory on Monday night, provoking criticism from the NPP.

Speaking on local station radio Oman, Akufo-Addo said he was “very ready” for tomorrow’s vote in Tain.

“It’s obvious that NDC is in the lead, but we have evidence that results from the Volta region [an NDC stronghold] were not accurate,” the candidate said, saying his party would take that evidence to the electoral commission.

NDC has made similar complaints about votes for NPP in its Ashanti stronghold.

The election was forced to a second round after no candidate won an absolute majority of votes in the first round on Dec. 7.

Atta-Mills’ supporters spent the day protesting the delay in the announcement of results in front of the electoral commission offices with reinforcements of security forces to keep them in check.

Election observers reported more problems and lapses in the run-off on Sunday than in the first round, but remained on the whole upbeat about the poll.

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