Extended Voting in Ghana Winds Down

A second and final day of voting is wrapping up in Ghana, where provisional results indicate President John Dramani Mahama is in a tight race against lead opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.

Officials extended voting into Saturday at some polling stations after technical problems prevented some people from casting ballots on Friday. Ballot counting got under way at polling stations where voting was completed.

This is the first election in which Ghana has used a new biometric registration system. Machines scan fingerprints to identify registered voters.

In addition to the presidential race, voters were choosing 275 members of parliament, where President Mahama’s National Democratic Congress has held a majority of seats.

Challenger Akufo-Addo is a member of the New Patriotic Party, which narrowly lost to the late President John Atta Mills in 2008. He has campaigned on a promise to provide free senior high school education for all.

Overall, Saturday’s polling went smoothly. Ahmed Issack Hassan, the head of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa observer mission, said in an interview with VOA that the elections met regional and international standards for credibility and transparency.

However, police in Accra fired warning shots and tear gas Saturday to disperse more than 100 protesters who claimed the voting was rigged.

Ghana’s law stipulates that results must be announced within a 72-hour period after polling ends. VOA

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