NewsWest AfricaGhana's opposition leads parliamentary polls as row erupts over presidential vote

Sun,19Nov2017

Posted on Thursday, 08 December 2016 16:38

Ghana's opposition leads parliamentary polls as row erupts over presidential vote

By Patrick Smith in Accra

An electoral official prepares a presidential ballot paper during the Presidential and parliamentary elections in Kibi, eastern Ghana. Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPAGhana's opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) took an early lead in the presidential and parliamentary elections, according to unofficial results in constituencies across the country.

 

Unofficial results based on the parallel vote tabulation run by civic groups, in 100 of the country’s 275 constituencies suggested the NPP’s Nana Akufo Addo had a lead of about 10% over President John Mahama. But none of these results have been validated by the Electoral Commission in Accra.

Tempers are beginning to flare following delays in the release of officials results. Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council, urged the Commission to speed up the announcement of results because some politicians were trying to take advantage of the information vacuum.

Given the disputes between the two main parties over the validity of some results, Ghanaians will have to wait at least another day for the final results.

The Electoral Commission says it is delaying the announcement of official results following the detection of “several incidents” of “over-voting” — that means cases where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of people registered to vote at a given polling station. These are said to be in the NPP’s electoral base of Asante Region.

Commission officials have started an audit to match the results sheets signed in each constituency collation centre with the tally of votes sent electronically to the Commission’s headquarters in Accra. That prompted the NPP’s Secretary General Dan Botwey to tell journalists: “We will not accept doctored results,” after he claimed that his party’s own results collation system showed a clear victory across the country.

At three o'clock this morning, the NPP held a press conference announcing they had won the election and called on President Mahama to concede. They have been stepping up the pressure today, joining forces with some civic groups and other opposition parties.

But senior figures in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) accuse the NPP of grandstanding. They admit that several senior NDC candidates have lost their parliamentary seats but say there is no question of them conceding victory in the Presidential elections to NPP leader Nana Addo Akufo Addo.

NDC Vice Chairman Koku Anyidoho told journalists this morning that incumbent President John Dramani Mahama was on track to win another term and would be able to run a government without a majority in parliament. Another senior NDC official suggested that neither Mahama nor Akufo Addo would win more than 50% of the votes cast, triggering a second round of voting at the end of month.

But none of those figures being bandied around political parties have been verified by the Electoral Commission in Accra headed by Charlotte Osei.

In an interview with The Africa Report last month, Osei said that final results for the presidential and parliamentary elections would be released 72 hours after voting ended. Officials at the Commission this morning said they were still on track to meet that deadline. They expect the first officials results to be issued later on 8 December.



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