KNN-Ghana, West Africa
In a cliffhanger presidential race between Ghana's two dominant parties NPP and NDC, opposition leader NDC's flag bearer Prof. John Atta Mills (NDC) has prevailed as Ghana's President Elect, announces Ghana's Electoral Commission.
The Commission's chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has confirmed that Mills won the runoff by a narrow margin having secured 50.23% of the votes, while his opponent, the ruling party's candidate Nana Akufo-Addo made out with 49.77%.
NDC 's (National Democratic Congress) narrow victory over ruling NPP (New Patriotic Party) party was declared on Saturday in the wake of a crucial makeup vote held Friday in Tain, a western district where due to a shortage of ballots and late arrival of electoral materials, voters had not been able to cast their second round ballots on December 28, 2008.
The ruling NPP party had requested cancellation of the makeup vote and vowed to boycott it. Nonetheless, the vote was conducted and helped to seal the marginal win increasing NDC's lead from 50.13% to 50.23% of the votes.
Both NDP and NPP parties claimed abnormal voting procedures in various district, however the evidence that each submitted did not substantiate any foul play.
Ghana's exiting President John Kufour (NPP), stepping down after having served the maximum of two 4-year terms, called for peace during Friday's runoff election as well as in its aftermath. NPP's lawyers withdrew its court complaints to preserve the country's stability.
President Elect Mills is a 64-year-old lawyer, law professor who served as Vice President under former President Jerry J. Rawlings. Mills had attempted twice previously to win the presidential bid in 2000 and 2004.
Among the many privileges he will enjoy as Ghana's new President elect, the win grants Mills the right to decide how revenues from Ghana's recent commercially significant oil and hydrocarbon discoveries will be managed. His decision may thrust Ghana into the likes of its neighbors as an oil exporter as early as 2010.
Ghana ranks as the world's largest cocoa grower as well as Africa's second gold producer. To add to its wealth, one find at a Ghanaian oil-field has been estimated at 1.8 billion barrels of crude petroleum.