Ghana’s two main presidential candidates are running neck-and-neck as votes continue to be counted a day after the country’s peaceful elections. It is a public holiday and people are glued to their radios and television sets as the results trickle in. A number of ministers have lost their seats in the parliamentary elections.

ghena-election2Poll officials reported a huge voter turnout and monitors hailed the exercise as a shining example of democracy in action for Africa. President John Kufuor, 70, is stepping down in January after serving the maximum two terms.

The main contest is between Mr Kufuor’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former ruler Jerry Rawlings, which was in power until eight years ago.

The leading contenders are ex-Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo and the NDC’s John Atta Mills, who is a presidential candidate for the third time. The winner is expected to be named later on Monday. But the electoral commission has until Wednesday afternoon to release the final official results.

It is too early to tell whether either candidate will be able to secure an outright victory, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Accra. A third contender who was tipped as a potential kingmaker or spoiler has performed poorly increasing the chance of a first round win for one of the frontrunners.

There is little love lost between the two main political parties, our correspondent says. The governing NPP dominated the outgoing parliament with 128 of the 230 seats. Parliamentary results so far show the centre-right party has lost at least half a dozen seats to the NDC, including that of President Kufuor’s information minister.


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