Elections in Ghana get underway | News | DW | 07.12.2012
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Elections in Ghana get underway

Ghanaians are voting in what has been billed by US President Barack Obama as a test for Africa’s "model democracy". Voters are casting their ballots in legislative and presidential elections.

Voters are lining up outside polling stations in the capital Accra and elsewhere in the country to vote for one of eight presidential candidates and for one of the political parties vying for the 275 seats in parliament.

Over 13 million people are eligible to vote in the West African country of 25 million inhabitants, which is a former British colony.

Opinion polls had predicted a tight race between the two main presidential candidates: Incumbent leader John Dramani Mahama, who replaced the late John Atta Mills after his sudden death from an illness in July, and main opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The previous election in 2008 was tight: Mills defeated Akufo-Addo with a margin of less than one percent and his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) got a majority in parliament.

This time the campaign has been focusing on the distribution of wealth, as a recent surge in oil revenues has brought an economic boom.

Opposition candidate Akufo-Addo - who is a trained lawyer and the son of a former Ghanaian president - has criticized the ruling party for a lack in progress with fighting poverty, creating jobs and investment in education.

Mahama, however, has promised to focus on infrastructure programs.

Provisional election results are expected within two days. If no presidential candidate wins a majority of 50 per cent, a run-off is to be held on December 28.

rg/sej (Reuters, dpa)