Opposition candidate John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held a narrow lead in Ghana’s closely fought presidential election run-off, the country’s top private broadcaster Joy FM said on Monday.

mill-leads1The radio, citing certified returns from polling stations from 205 of the 230 national constituencies that voted on Sunday, put Mills ahead as both contenders’ camps threatened not to accept some results because of alleged “irregularities”.

Joy FM said Mills had 51.35 percent, against 48.65 percent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). But the electoral race in the world’s No. 2 cocoa grower, which will start producing oil in 2010, was still close and some of the remaining constituencies to be tallied were NPP strongholds, local election experts said.

Sunday’s Ghana run-off came at the end of what many see as a tough year for constitutional democracy in Africa, tarnished by flawed elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe and military coups, in Mauritania in August, and in Guinea over the last week.

Many have been hoping that Ghana, which has become a recent favourite with investors on a turbulent continent, can buck the trend by holding successful elections to replace President John Kufuor, who leaves office in January after serving two terms.

Ghana’s electoral regulations allow the media to announce certified results from constituencies as they are collated. But only the electoral commission can declare final results or the winner. The commission was expected to release provisional results indicating a trend later on Monday.



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