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Africa
Ghana elects new president
Opposition leader John Atta Mills defeats ruling party candidate in tight race.
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2009 15:44 GMT
Voters from Tain determined the outcome
of the presidential election in Ghana [AFP]

John Atta Mills, Ghana's opposition leader, has won the country's presidential election, the country's electoral commission said.

During the last leg of a tight race, the 64-year-old pulled ahead of ruling party rival Nana Akufo-Addo with several thousand votes from the remote rural district of Tain.

Running under the National Democratic Congress, Atta Mills took 50.23 per cent of the vote, against 49.77 per cent for Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

This is Atta-Mills third bid for the presidency; he lost the previous two elections to outgoing leader John Kufuor, who is stepping down after serving the maximum two terms in office.

NPP had called on supporters to boycott the voting in Tain after Akufo-Addo, also 64, won an inconclusive first round of nation-wide voting on December 7.

But it withdrew its protests on Friday after Kufuor called on all sides to respect the outcome of the election, and Afuko-Addo conceded defeat following Saturday's announcement.

"I acknowledge the electoral commissioner's declaration and congratulate Professor Mills," he said during a news conference at NPP's headquarters in the capital Accra.

Responding to complaints raised by both parties, Afari-Gyan said: "The commission did not find the evidence provided sufficient to invalidate the result".

Final results were reached by adding the votes garnered  by each candidate in Tain to results from the other 229 constituencies that cast their second-round votes on Dec. 28, he said.

This is Ghana's fifth election - with stakes high as the country expects to start pumping oil in 2010 - since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992.

Source:
Al Jazeera and wires
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