Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer for the New Patriotic Party, has taken a commanding lead in Ghana’s presidential elections winning key regions such as Ashanti, Eastern, Central and Western, according to the Electoral Commission’s provisional results seen by our correspondents in Accra.
The Electoral Commission, which had promised to release official results yesterday evening just 24 hours after the end of voting on 7 December, is due to make a statement today.
The Commission emphasises that these official results are the only ones that will count.
Finalised counting per region continues to be posted on its website and twitter account clearly showing the race between Akufo-Addo and John Dramani Mahama of the NDC.
Both the leading candidates had signed a solemn undertaking last week to resolve any electoral disputes through legal channels and called on their supporters to refrain from violence.
Although there were some incidents of ballot box stealing and clashes between party militants and security officials, there was far less violence in the campaign and on voting day than in the US elections, for example.
Akufo Addo held onto the heartlands of the NPP. In Ashanti region, he won by 1.79 million to Mahama’s 653,149 according to the provisional results seen by our correspondents; and he won Eastern region by 752,061 to Mahama’s 470,999.
If confirmed, those results suggest that Akufo Addo has kept together the constituent parts of the NPP support base among the Akan-speaking people despite some forecasts of heavy losses to the NDC which had nurtured a strong relationship with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the Ashanti King.
Akufo Addo’s margin of victory over Mahama in the swing regions of Western – 41, 175 votes – and Central – 79,975 –was much narrower, according to the provisional results.
NDC supporters are disputing many of these results and point out that Northern region is a stronghold for their candidate Mahama and that they expect to win a substantial majority in Greater Accra. Mahama’s team have said they will go to court to dispute the results should they fail to take the presidency.
And the NDC also claim to have won control of the legislature after taking 140 of the 275 seats in the parliament after some senior NPP figures, such as the deputy minister of transport, lost their seats.
That raises the possibility of political cohabitation in Ghana – with one of the major parties winning the presidency and the other controlling the parliament – for the first time since Hilla Limann’s presidency in 1979. The NPP, however, insists it will retain control of parliament but by a slimmer margin.
Cohabitation would complicate some of the NPP’s economic strategy, particularly its plans to float a gold royalties company called Agyapa in London and the tax haven of Jersey, which has come under heavy fire from the opposition and civil society. Last month, Martin Amidu, the Independent Prosecutor, resigned after complaining of political interference in his investigation into the project.