Ghana's Opposition Wins Elections
December 11, 2000

On Thursday, December 7, 2000, millions of Ghanaians turned out at polling stations to elect their new president and 200 members of parliament. According to the results, the main opposition party, New Patriotic Party (NPP), defeated the ruling party. NPP won 97 seats in parliament while the ruling party won 93. NPP's John Kufuor who won 48% of the votes in the presidential race will face Vice President John Atta Mills (won 45% of the votes) of the ruling party in a run-off election.

In general, voting was orderly, freed of violence that usually plagues most African election, except with few instances, like the one that occurred at one polling station at North Kaneshie in Accra, where a man with a gun held up voting for hours saying voting should not start in the absence of police.

A West Africa BBC correspondent was reported to have said, "The election seems to be among the freest and most democratic polls ever held in Africa".

Also, a jubilant Ghanaian voter at the main square in Accra expressed her satisfaction with the way voting went by saying, "I am happy for voting to have been conducted peacefully. It appears that the democratic way of changing government is better than the one we are used to - the military thing. Thank God for Rawlings to have allowed this process to take place. This is a new day for Ghana", the lady concluded.

The run-off election for the presidency between John Atta Mills of the governing party and John Kufuor of the opposition will be held in twenty days. Many observers are predicting that in the run-off, Mr. Kufuor will win the contest, thereby succeeding President Rawlings after two decades.

If the Ghanaian run-off election succeeds, Ghana would be joining the privileged club of a few African countries - Senegal and South Africa - where the idea of competitive electoral politics is becoming gradually institutionalized. This will be Ghana's third successful attempt at holding presidential and parliamentary elections. The first and second was held in 1992 1996.