Thu, Dec 13, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Ghanaian opposition to contest election in court

Reuters, ACCRA

Ghana’s main opposition party on Tuesday said it would challenge in court the result of last week’s election, which gave victory to Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama with 50.7 percent of the vote.

New Patriotic Party (NPP) leader Nana Akufo-Addo, who lost to Mahama in the poll, said electoral workers had tampered with the result of Friday’s vote — which was widely seen as a test of democracy in one of Africa’s most stable nations.

“We are taking our matter to the place where the constitution says we should take our matter,” Akufo-Addo told thousands of supporters in the same field in the capital, Accra, where Mahama held his victory party the previous day. “We are going to put ourselves in the hands of the judges of the Supreme Court and they will decide the fate of this election.”

The US and regional leaders have issued statements congratulating Mahama on his victory and praising the conduct of the election, which observers said was free and fair despite some logistical glitches.

Mahama, who took over from former Ghanaian president John Atta Mills after his death in July, said he was not worried by the NPP’s legal challenge and was confident supporters of the rival political camps would remain calm.

“Ghana’s democracy is solid and there are constitutional institutions to deal with situations like this,” he told reporters in an interview at his residence in Accra.

During his victory speech on Monday, Mahama urged his defeated rivals to drop any grievances and join him “as partners” in making Ghana better.

The gold, oil and cocoa producer has managed more than 30 years of democratic transfers of power, making it an anomaly in West Africa’s so-called “coup belt.”

However, a contested election in 2008 which Akufo-Addo lost by less than 1 percent pushed the country to the brink of chaos, with disputes over results driving hundreds of people into the streets with clubs and machetes.

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