Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 7 News List

UN and Africa hail Ghana election as democratic success

AGENCIES , UNITED NATIONS AND ACCRA

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday hailed Ghana’s presidential election as a “democratic achievement” and applauded the country for setting an “admirable example.”

Ban “warmly congratulates the people and government of Ghana on the peaceful and orderly resolution of the recently concluded presidential and legislative elections,” his office said in a statement.

The UN chief “acknowledges the dedication and professionalism of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, which has skillfully managed the process” and “commends the political parties and their leadership for their statesmanlike conduct.”

PRIDE

He added that “Ghanaians can and should take pride in this democratic achievement. With their continuing show of commitment to the democratic process, Ghana and its leaders are setting an admirable example.”

Ghana’s president-elect John Atta-Mills won the election Saturday in the second round by a very slim margin of just 40,000 votes out of a total of some 9 million ballots cast.

An opposition candidate, Atta-Mills gained less than half a percentage point over the ruling party’s aspirant Nana Akufo-Addo.

The first time power swapped hands peacefully was in 2000, when former military leader turned democratic ruler Jerry Rawlings handed over to John Kufuor after an eight-year stint as elected president.

Kufuor is to hand over to Atta-Mills on Wednesday.

RARE

Ghana’s largely peaceful and credible presidential election was a rare example of a functioning democracy in Africa and should be a model for the continent, African leaders, voters and diplomats said on Sunday.

Much attention in Africa and elsewhere was focused on the Ghanaian vote after a year of political crises, many of them violent, tarnished Africa’s democratic credentials.

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