Opposition challenger Nana Akufo-Addo has a clear lead in Ghana’s hotly contested presidential election, local media reported Friday, although official results have yet to be published.
Akufo-Addo has won more than 54 percent of the vote in the race against incumbent President John Mahama, according to local radio stations PeaceFM radio and CitiFM.
Huge crowds of jubilant Akufo-Addo supporters were celebrating at the home of the 72-year-old New Patriotic Party (NPP) leader who had already claimed victory on Thursday.
Mahama, who is seeking a second term in office, pledged to respect the results of an election being seen as a test of stability of Africa’s most secure democracy.
“I want to assure the nation that we will respect the outcome of the elections, positive or negative,” the charismatic 58-year-old said at his Accra residence.
He called for calm and patience over the slow pace of the count after Wednesday’s presidential and parliamentary vote in the resource-rich west African nation.
“Let’s allow the EC (electoral commission) to carry out its constitutional mandate. We’ll make Ghana proud no matter outcome,” he said on Twitter.
Ghana’s election agency said it would need at least 72 hours after polls closed before it would be able to publish the final official results.
Commission head Charlotte Osei told reporters that results from 210 constituencies had been tallied and that turnout was around 49 per cent.
“This is way below our history in elections so far and it’s quite disappointing,” she said.
Akufo-Addo had told a cheering crowd at his home on Thursday that he was “confident” he had won, drawing the condemnation of independent observers who said it was too early to call the election.