Ghana votes to elect new President

A voter casts her in Ghana's presidential and legislative election, Dec. 7, 2016. PHOTO/Luc Gnago/Reuters

Tight race expected in Ghana

Voters in Ghana began lining up at polling stations before dawn on Wednesday to elect their next president as the West African nation hopes to reaffirm its reputation as a model of democracy on the continent.

The race is expected to be tight between incumbent President John Dramani Mahama and opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mahama, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is seeking a 2nd and final 4-year term as Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), makes his 3rd and likely final run for the highest office in a nation of more than 28 million people. Candidates from 4 smaller parties are also on the ballot, including Ghana’s first physically challenged contender and a former first lady.

Ghanaians also will elect members of parliament to serve in the country’s 275 ridings.

The elections are expected to be a referendum on the incumbent party’s last 8 years in office and its handling of the economy, which has been dogged by a decline in global commodity prices and perceived economic mismanagement and corruption. The opposition has exploited high unemployment levels and under-performing gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates in an effort to appeal to frustrated Ghanaians.
Akufo-Addo is banking on the backing of voters who are frustrated with a litany of corruption scandals, unreliable electricity and sluggish economic growth.

Mahama has defended his record, campaigning on plans to boost economic growth and continue modest gains in infrastructure development. A change in government, he says, would reverse the progress made during the last 4 years.

Source: The Associated Press