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Ghanaian president-elect promises to be "president for all"
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09:46, January 05, 2009

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Ghanian president-elect John Atta-Mills from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has promised to be a "president for all", a move came soon after the Electoral Commission (EC) on Saturday announced him as the winner of the Dec. 28, 2008 presidential run-off.

Speaking to his supporters, Atta-Mills said "I want to assure Ghanaians that I will be a president for all. There will be no discrimination. The elections are over, we now have one Ghana."

"I would want to congratulate all others contestants, especially Nana Akufo-Addo (presidential candidate from the ruling New Patriotic Party), for giving us a good fight. It is my hope that we will be able to work together to build a better Ghana," Atta-Mills said.

Addressing a news conference in Accra on Saturday, Electoral Commissioner Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced "On the basis of the official results given, it's my duty to declare Professor John Evans Atta-Mills president-elect of the Republic of Ghana."

According to the EC, Mills garnered 4,521,032 votes or 50.23 percent while Nana Akufo-Addo got 4,40,446 votes or 49.77 percent. Voter turnout was 72.91 percent.

John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party speaks after his victory in the presidential elections at his campaign headquarters in Accra Jan. 3, 2009

Kwado Afari-Gyan told reporters that the commission had considered allegations of vote-rigging by both sides but "did not find the evidence provided sufficient to invalidate the result".

The declaration paved the way for Mills to be sworn in as the next Ghanaian president on Jan. 7, 2009.

President-elect Atta-Mills, 64, a law professor, was running for president for the third time. He lost the previous two elections to outgoing President John Kufuor. Atta-Mills served as vice president to the charismatic former leader, Jerry Rawlings, from 1997 to 2000.

His success came after Friday's vote in the Tain constituency where Mills secured 19,566 ballots, well ahead of Nana Akufo-Addo with 2,053 ballots.

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) called on a boycott on Friday's election at Tain Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region.

In a speech to his supporters, Akufo-Addo first conceded defeat and congratulated Mills for his winning.

"I acknowledge the electoral commission's declaration and I congratulate Prof Atta-Mills," he said at NPP headquarters.

Akufo-Addo pledged to do his part in fostering "continuation and consensus", but went on to say his party would go to court over "the illegalities" in the conduct of the poll. He gave no more details.

The NPP has now lost the presidency and control of parliament. NDC won a majority of parliamentary seats in legislative elections on December 7. NDC is now the largest party in the 230-seat parliament with 114 seats, against 107 for the NPP.

"Victory for the opposition party is a victory for democracy," NDC member Sekou Nkrumah, youngest son of Ghana 's first president Kwame Nkrumah said at the party's headquarters.

"After eight years in the wilderness, the NDC is back to build a better Ghana," he said

Outgoing President John Kufuor earlier urged both candidates to respect the final results of the vote. He appealed for calm, saying any complaints of vote-rigging should be dealt with by the courts after the new president is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.

"I personally expect him to create more jobs as most of the people are jobless," Kufuor said.

Ghana, regarded as a beacon of democracy in West Africa, will start pumping oil in 2010. The elections were its fifth since a return to multi-party democracy in 1992, the Lagos-based Nation newspaper said.


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