Opposition leads in Ghana election

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The Independent Online

Opposition candidate John Atta Mills is on course to win Ghana's presidential election run-off, top independent private broadcaster Joy FM said yesterday, and provisional official results also put him ahead.

With votes officially counted from 200 of the country's 230 constituencies after Sunday's run-off, the electoral commission said National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate Mills had 52.1 percent against 47.9 percent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Electoral commission chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan scheduled a news conference for midday on Tuesday.

"Joy FM can project that Professor John Atta Mills will win the second round of the presidential election," the radio, citing certified returns from 223 of the 230 national constituencies, announced.

Ghana's electoral regulations allow the media to announce certified results from constituencies as they are collated at individual polling stations. Only the electoral commission can declare final results or the winner.

At a news conference, Mills predicted he would win the run-off, held after an inconclusive Dec. 7 first round in the world's No. 2 cocoa grower, which will become the latest Gulf of Guinea oil producer in 2010.

"This victory will be a victory for all Ghanaians and Atta Mills, if he should be declared winner, will be a president for everybody," Mills said, urging his supporters to stay calm.

The NPP did not concede and criticised the radio prediction.

The risk consultancy Eurasia Group, in a briefing note by Africa analyst Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, called Mills's lead "tight but insurmountable" and predicted he would be a "narrow electoral winner without a strong governing mandate".