Afr election

Voting Begins in Ghana’s Presidential and Legislative Elections

Voting has begun in the West African nation of Ghana, where ballots are being cast for president and members of the 275-seat legislature.

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Although 12 candidates are seeking the presidency, the race is viewed as a two-way contest between incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriot Party and former president John Mahama, the leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress party.  This is the third contest between the two men since 2012, when Mahama defeated Akufo-Addo, followed by Akufo-Addo’s win in 2016.   

Three women are among the 11 candidates challenging Akufo-Addo, but attention has been focused on Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, a former education minister who is running as Mahama’s vice-presidential running mate, becoming the first woman on the ticket of a major Ghanian political party.  

The Congo-based media outlet Africa News cited a recent survey by the Center for Democratic Development showing President Akufo-Addo with a slight lead over Mahama. 

Both candidates have promised to revive the region’s second-largest economy and its vital cocoa-exporting sector, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ghana has 52,274 confirmed coronavirus cases and 325 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.  

The Electoral Commission said so-called COVID-19 ambassadors will be located at all 311 voting centers to make sure voters follow protocols, including wearing masks, getting temperature checks and sanitizing their hands  

Ghana has been a symbol of political and economic stability in west Africa since returning to democracy in 1992.  The winner must secure more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.  The final results are expected to be announced by Thursday, December 10. 

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