Ghana′s neck-and-neck race for election hopefuls | News | DW | 08.12.2012
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Ghana's neck-and-neck race for election hopefuls

Voting in Ghana's general elections was forced into a second day after malfunctioning equipment failed at numerous polling stations on Friday. Tallying has begun with almost half of the votes counted.

Ghana's electoral workers began tallying votes late Saturday in an election marred by technical glitches. Early predictions suggest that the vote is neck-and-neck between incumbent President John Dramani Mahama and his main rival, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Ghanaian's were forced to queue for a second day to cast their vote on Saturday after the glitches forced election officials to extend voting in some areas.

The biometric machines, used for the first time in an election there, were supposed to read the fingerprints of the 13 million registered voters, but many failed to work, were missing or arrived too late at 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 president as, by Saturday, the winners of only a dozen constituencies had been confirmed, from a total of 275.

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

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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