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Ghana elects president in quiet, high turnout elections

Accra, Dec 7 (EFE) .- Ghana’s general elections were held today without notable incidents and with an apparent high turnout in this West African country, where the outgoing president, Nana Akufo-Addo, is running for a second term of four years. This is the eighth consecutive elections since the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1992 in Ghana, one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Some seventeen million voters were called to vote in just over 38,600 polling stations, which officially opened at 07:00 GMT and are expected to close at 17:00 GMT. LONG LINES TO VOTE DESPITE COVID-19 Except for the late opening of some centers due to the delay in the arrival of electoral material and several alleged cases of alteration of the ballots for the presidential elections, calm and normality were the predominant notes of the day. “So far we are experiencing a peaceful electoral process throughout the country. We urge citizens to continue being agents of peace in the exercise of their civic responsibility,” said the Electoral Commission a few hours after the closing of schools. Before the opening of the schools, long lines of voters could be seen in many of them, according to Efe in Accra. “I came here at 05:30 (local time and GMT) and I voted. The queue is moving fast,” Stephen Akotia, who exercised his democratic right in the Ghanaian capital, told EFE. “The general atmosphere is calm. The turnout since the morning has been high. This shows that there is a lot of enthusiasm among the voters,” another voter, Kofi Karikari, told Efe after casting his vote in Accra. The day was also marked by the protocols applied due to the covid-19 pandemic: use of masks, washing hands with soap, taking body temperature and social distance; Although this last measure was not complied with in many centers. Ghanaians elect not only their president, but the 275 deputies of the national Parliament. Although twelve candidates are vying for the head of state, only two have a chance of winning: Akufo-Addo, 76, leader of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP, center-right), and former president John Dramani Mahama, 62 years old and head of the National Democratic Congress (NDC, center left). AKUFO-ADDO, THE FAVORITE Akufo-Addo, whom the polls give as a favorite, voted in the morning in the town of Kyebi (south), from which he hails, and expressed his confidence in the triumph and development of some free and transparent elections. “We will achieve a clear victory today,” said the president and leader of the ruling NPP, who urged citizens to “exercise their sovereign right to form the government in the country.” During the campaign, Akufo-Addo boasted of a favorable economic management until the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic to this country, of about thirty million inhabitants, which stands out as the first African producer of gold and the second world exporter of cocoa . The Government had projected growth of close to seven percent for 2020, but had to lower that figure to 1.9% due to the impact of the coronavirus, although it foresees an increase of close to six percent in 2021. Mahama, who as president Elected at the polls, he ruled the country from 2013 to 2017, but as vice president he acceded to the Presidency in July 2012 after the death of John Atta Mills, he also voted in the morning in the city of Bole (north), where he is from. “It is too early to make an evaluation” of the electoral process, said the NDC leader, although he expressed concern about the absence of the names of some voters in the census of his voting center. “Ghana needs to change in a fundamental way, and the change begins now!” Mahama, who has criticized the government’s economic management and accused Akufo-Addo of tolerating corruption, said on his Twitter account. It is the third time that Akufo-Addo and Mahama have faced each other at the polls, as the latter defeated the former in 2012 and the outgoing president defeated the NDC candidate in 2016. EU ELECTORAL MISSION The elections are attended by several international observation missions, such as that of the European Union (EU), headed by the Spanish MEP Javier Nart and with more than eighty supervisors mobilized in the sixteen regions of the country. EU observers reported “slight delays in some of the polling stations observed for the opening. The environment has been peaceful with strong participation,” added the mission on Twitter, stating that there were no “serious incidents reported” during the elections. first hours of voting. The winner of the presidential elections must obtain more than fifty percent of the vote to avoid a second round that, otherwise, would take place on December 28 with the two most voted candidates in the running. The Electoral Commission has advanced that it could declare the results in 24 hours, although the law stipulates that it should be done in 72 hours. Mawusi Afele (c) EFE Agency

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