Voting starts in Ghana's presidential, legislative polls
AFP - 8 minutes ago
ACCRA, Ghana, (AFP) - - Voting started Sunday in Ghana's presidential and legislative elections, with some polling stations in the capital Accra opening on time and others delayed by the late delivery of voting material.
Some 12.8 million Ghanaians will have the chance to choose the man who will replace president John Kufuor, who is stepping down after two four-year terms, and vote for candidates to 230 seats of the country's parliament.
Polling stations will be open from 0700 GMT to 1700 GMT and provisional results are expected to be made known within 72 hours.
"You can sense that ordinary Africans want elections they can be proud of; after the debacle of Zimbabwe and challenges of Kenya, Ghana may provide the opportunity Africans have been looking for to externalise their pride," said Christopher Fomunyoh, of Washington's National Democratic Institute (NDI).
"It would be historical if these watershed elections were well conducted in the country that was first to achieve independence on the African continent," he told AFP.
Seven presidential aspirants are vying in the polls -- the country's fifth since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992 -- to succeed Kufuor, one of Africa's most respected leaders.
But the real contest is between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the fiery former ruler Jerry Rawlings, which was in power until the 2000 elections.
The election is expected to be a close contest. If it goes to a second round that will take place December 28.
The two leading candidates are Nana Akufo-Addo, a 64-year-old lawyer from the NPP and John Atta-Mills, also 64, a law professor from the NDC.
A possible spoiler is Papa Kwesi Nduom, 55, a businessman and consultant representing the Convention People's Party (CPP).
The parties of the two main contenders have each had an eight-year stint in power, giving the electorate the chance to compare their respective records.
Among the international bodies that have deployed observer missions to monitor the elections are the Commonwealth, the European Union and the West African grouping the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
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Passers-by walk past a billboard featuring the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDC) John Atta Mills in Accra. Voting started Sunday in Ghana's presidential and legislative elections, with some polling stations in the capital Accra opening on time and others delayed by the late delivery of voting material.
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