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Ghana opposition party to challenge presidential election

The New Patriotic Party of Ghana (NPP) [party website] on Tuesday announced [press release] its plan to challenge the country's presidential election results after alleging that the victory of incumbent president John Dramani Mahama [BBC profile] was due to fraud. Though Mahama was declared the winner [AP report] of Ghana's December 7 election with 50.7 percent of the valid vote, opposition leaders declared that they have "serious reservations about the validity of what the Chairman of the Electoral Commission has done in declaring results that ... do not reflect the mandate of the required majority of the Ghanaian electorate." Since then, NPP leadership has submitted a two-fold request [text] to the Returning Office of the President Elections. First, NPP has asked for an audit of the verification machines "to establish that it tallies with Constituency Collated signed results," and second, it has asked for an order to re-collate "the presidential ballot at the constituency level to help establish the credibility and accuracy" of the December 7 election. NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo [campaign website], finished second in the election with 47.74 percent of the electoral vote and has encouraged all NPP members and his supporters to remain calm.

Though Ghana's president elections were held last Friday, Mahama was not declared the winner until Sunday. The delays have been attributed to "technical glitches" with the country's new voting machines, and the problems forced many polling places to extend voting [BBC report]. Despite the issues, voter turnout was particularly high, with roughly 80 percent of 14 million registered voters casting ballots. This is the second presidential defeat for Akufo-Addo, who lost to Mahama in 2008 [BBC backgrounder] by less than 1 percent of the electorate.

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