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General News of Friday, 7 December 2012

Source: GNA

Voting ends in Ghana’s historic general election

Voting in Ghana’s historic presidential and parliamentary elections ended officially at 1700 hours throughout the country on Friday.

The exercise was generally peaceful but there were problems with the verification machines which either broke down or could not clear eligible voters to exercise their franchise.

Counting has started and the first results are expected later on Friday evening through to early Saturday.

For the first time in Ghana, the elections took place with the use of a biometric registration and verification process.

The Electoral Commission has issued a statement saying all eligible voters in the queue before the close of voting at 1700 hours would be allowed to vote.

A statement signed by Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman (Operations) posted on the EC website said: “The Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public especially registered voters in polling stations where voting did not start early due to the late arrival of election materials, that the Commission has an inbuilt mechanism that will make it possible for all eligible voters who are in the queue before 5:00pm to vote.

“All eligible voters who are in queue before the close of polls at 5:00pm will be offered the opportunity to vote when the poll officially closes.

“The general public is entreated to be patient and allow the process to run smoothly”, the EC Deputy Chairman said.

Voters cast their ballots at 26,000 polling stations to elect a president from the eight candidates.

There were 1,332 candidates, including 134 women, vying for 275 seats in parliament. Eight candidates, including the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who was sworn in when president John Evans Atta Mills died suddenly on July 24 this year, are contesting for the presidency.

His main challenger is Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who was defeated by President Mills in 2008.

The other candidates are Dr Abu Sakara of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Akwasi Addai of the United Front Party (UFP), Dr Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the Independent candidate, Mr Joseph Osei-Yeboah.

The National Democratic Party (NDP), led by former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a breakaway group from the NDC, contested only parliamentary seats after she was disqualified by the Electoral Commission (EC) for not properly completing and submitting her forms before the deadline.

Voting was generally peaceful except for widespread problems with the verification machines which prevented many prospective voters from exercising their franchise.

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