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Ghanaians forced back to the polls for a second day

Voting in Ghana's general elections has been forced into a second day after malfunctioning equipment failed at numerous polling stations on Friday.

Ghanaian's queued up for a second day to cast their vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday after technical glitches forced election officials to extend voting in some areas.

The biometric machines, used for the first time at an election in the country, were supposed to read the fingerprints of the 13 million registered voters, but many failed to work, were missing or arrived too late at various polling booths around the country.

Ghana's Electoral Commission was not immediately available for comment on the situation or to offer a figure on the number of people turned away from polling booths on Friday.

"Our 4,500 observers across the country have reported that the voting process was in general peaceful and calm but there were some areas with challenges," Franklin Oduro the deputy director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, told the news agency dpa.

An official of the Upper East region told Accra-based CitiFM on Friday that the breakdowns had disenfranchised thousands and those registered "should be allowed to vote; otherwise they would not accept the results."

Unofficial results have been announced on local media, but Oduro said it was too early to announce a presidential winner as the winnders of only a dozen constituencies results had been confirmed from a total of 275 by Saturday.

Ghanaians have six presidential candidates to choose from, and an array of political parties vying for the 275 seats in parliament.

Opinion polls predict a tight race between the two main candidates, incumbent leader John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress - who replaced the late John Atta Mills after his sudden death from an illness in July - and the main opposition candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party.

Results of the ballot are expected within two days. A second round of voting will take place in two weeks if no one wins a majority.

jlw/mkg (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

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