General News of Thursday, 8 November 2012

Source: myjoyonline

Mahama leads in close 2012 election - EIU report

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its latest report is predicting that President John Mahama is the slight favourite in the December polls.

The October report says recent political events are tipping the elections -which it predicts will be extremely close - in favour of Mr Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress who are seeking re-election.

“A number of recent events have bolstered the ruling NDC's prospects ahead of the December elections. We continue to forecast that the elections will be extremely close, but the NDC is arguably becoming the slight favourite,” the report stated.

It said, “The power of incumbency will give some advantage to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) especially in terms of spending the early oil windfall,” but added that “this advantage is less pronounced in Ghana than in other African countries, given its history of voters evicting the ruling party in favour of the opposition.”

To win the election against the opposition NPP’s formidable candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, the NDC's presidential candidate, John Mahama, the IEU noted, “must convince voters that he and his party are fit to continue governing. The economy will be a key battleground and the president has been quick to pledge his intention to support moves that will improve living standards, including tackling inflation and boosting infrastructure development.”

Allegations of corruption and “claims of financial impropriety have tarnished some government ministers. This has hurt the NDC's reputation, given that it came to power promising accountability and transparency,” the report indicated.

Meanwhile, the NPP, which was only narrowly defeated at the 2008 elections, is working hard on the campaign trail.

Overall, the outcome of the 2012 presidential election could be just as close as that of 2008, but the Economist Intelligence Unit believes that Mr Mahama and the NDC are the slight favourites.

When the next national elections come round in 2016, Ghana could well be at a very different stage of development, provided that the oil and gas boom is managed effectively. If this is the case, whoever wins in 2012 would have a strong chance of securing re-election.

The flipside to this is that if the electorate views development as not having improved sufficiently, another swap in power between the NDC and the NPP could be expected.

“Given our assumption of a close but fair election, political stability would be expected to return quickly to Ghana—a country with an enviable democratic track record in a troubled region,” the report said.

The report however warns of political tension in the wake of increased oil revenue in the country.