Friday, 7 December 2012

Ghana: Voting Begins Across Polling Centres in Ghana to Choose a President and Members of Parliament

Voting has begun in the various polling stations throughout Ghana, to elect a president and 275 Members of Parliament. Queues started forming from the wee hours of the morning, indicating that that turnout is likely to be high. In all, voting will take place in 26,000 polling stations nationwide.

Voting which began at 7am (7:00GMT), is expected to close at 5pm (17:00 GMT).

In some polling stations, queues were formed as early as 12 midnight local time , seven clear hours before voting begun, while others were found loitering around the stations hours earlier despite a torrential rainfall. In some of the centres prospective voters had planted objects such as stones and blocks in queues, as symbols to indicate their positions in the queue while they retired home to return at dawn, all in a bid to get the opportunity to vote early.

Voting material were dispatched early to some centres while in some cases the Electoral Officials delayed in arriving at the centres generating some anxiety among the voters.

Besides the Electoral Officials, each political party is supposed to have a representative at the polling centres to ensure that the voting process is free and fair. There are also local and foreign observers monitoring the process across the length and breadth of the country. Each polling centre is also supposed to be policed by a security office to maintain law and order.

The race to the presidency has been described as too close to call as the two frontrunners, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) are both determined to win the elections and form the next government for a four year term.

In all there are 8 men including an independent candidate contesting to become the next president. Also at stake is the contest for 275 seats in parliament by 1,332 candidates from 14 of the 23 registered political parties. Out of the number, 133 are female contestants.

This will be the sixth time that Ghanaians will be going to the polls to elect a President and Members of Parliament after the country returned to civilian rule in 1992, following 3 previous democratic regimes that were truncated and interspersed by 5 different military interventions since the country gained independence in 1957 from the British.

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