Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo wins re-election in tightly contested election

A staff member checks the temperature of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo before he casts his ballot at a polling station during presidential and parliamentary elections in Kyebi, Ghana.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has won re-election with 51.59% of the vote, beating his predecessor and old rival John Mahama, results from the election commission showed on Wednesday.

The results follow a contentious poll that both candidates had said they were leading based on their camps’ tallies. Five people were killed in election violence since Monday, the police said, marring what observers said was a well-organised vote.

There were 12 presidential candidates, but most voters voted between Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party, and former president Mahama and his National Democratic Congress.

The parties have alternated in power since 1992 and this is the third straight election in which Akufo-Addo and Mahama have faced off.

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Commentators say Akufo-Addo’s slight lead is largely based on his performance during the pandemic, in which his administration provided free water and subsidised electricity to households.

Last year Ghana emerged from a three-year lending programme with the International Monetary Fund only for the pandemic to knock demand for its key exports of oil and cocoa. It is now suffering its first quarterly contraction in nearly 40 years.

Akufo Addo has promised to implement a $17 billion programme to boost Ghana’s economy after the coronavirus pandemic hit the price of key oil and cocoa exports, resulting in the first quarterly contraction in nearly 40 years.

He will be under pressure to rein in government spending that has pushed the debt-to-GDP ratio past 70% and prompted warnings from the International Monetary Fund.

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