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Ghana awaits tight presidential election results

Ghana's election commission has yet to publish final results for the country's presidential elections, but opposition parties have already cried foul. Local media project a narrow win for incumbent John Dramani Mahama.

Preliminary official results from the election commission in Accra only accounted for 194 of 275 constituencies, putting the ruling NDC candidate John Dramani Mahama marginally ahead.

According to the commission's live election website, the NDC held 50.2 percent of the vote, ahead of 48.3 percent for the main opposition NPP candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.

With the top two candidates therefore dominating the polls, a head-to-head second round runoff election might not be necessary - the partial results, for example, would negate the need for one if they stayed unchanged.

Local media already projected that Mahama would win re-election, prompting Akufo-Addo's supporters to allege electoral fraud on Sunday even before the official results were finalized. A top figure within the NPP party appealed to the commission to delay publication of the results until it investigated these claims.

"It will be unfortunate for the EC [election commission] to go ahead to announce the elections," NPP chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey told a news conference in the capital Accra. "We have significant problems that need to be looked at… These results cannot be forced down the throat of the people of Ghana."

Technical problems

A correspondent for the Reuters news agency reported a heavy police presence outside the election commission, keeping assembled opposition supporters at bay.

Afuko-Addo lost to Mahama by a small margin in Ghana's last presidential poll in 2008, prompting public protests from his supporters in the election's immediate aftermath.

Ghanaians began voting on Friday, with the election being extended through Saturday owing to technical problems at some polling stations.

Ghana is often touted as a model democracy in Africa. The country boasts 30 years of relative stability and economic growth in one of the more politically unstable regions of the world.

Originally, the election commission had hoped to publish complete official results on Sunday.

msh/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)