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General News of Thursday, 4 January 2001

Source: AFP

By-election Gives NPP 100th Parliamentary Seat

A by-election on Wednesday handed Ghana's incoming ruling party its 100th seat in the 200-member parliament, capping the country's historic elections.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), which swept legislative elections on December 7, replaced the National Democratic Congress as the largest force in parliament, winning 99 seats to the NDC's 92.

The NDC of outgoing President Jerry Rawlings had enjoyed a controlling 133 seats in the outgoing parliament.

The NPP has also won an impressive presidential mandate, with flagbearer John Kufuor defeating Rawlings' protege John Atta Mills, the outgoing vice president, by 57 to 43 percent of the vote in a second-round runoff last Thursday.

The by-election in Asutifi South, a constituency northwest of Accra, was called because the NPP candidate, Philip Amoah, died shortly before the December 7 vote. His widow Cecilia won on Wednesday.

The eight other seats in the incoming parliament were won by smaller parties and independents, one of whom is outgoing foreign minister Victor Gbeho.

He stood as an independent to prevent a win by the NPP candidate against a particularly unpopular NDC MP in a Volta Region constituency.

The landmark elections in the west African country mark the first time since independence in 1957 that Ghana will see a transfer of power from one elected president to another.

Kufuor is to be sworn in on Sunday.

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