Ghana poll, test of democratic reputation

Voters in Ghana lined up as early as 2 am on Friday to select their next president and parliament in a ballot that is expected to mark the sixth transparent election in this West African nation, known as a beacon of democracy in a tumultuous region.

Ghana, with a population of 25 million, was once a troubled nation that suffered five coups and decades of stagnation, before turning a corner in the 1990s. It is now a pacesetter for the continent’s efforts to become democratic.

With the race for the presidency expected to be close, the turnout at the polls was high. Some precincts were serving lines that were 1,000-people deep.

Many polls opened late because material had not arrived from the electoral commission, but voters waited patiently to cast their ballots for one of the eight presidential contenders, including President John Dramani Mahama and his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo.

In line, many said they would not speak about who they were voting for to help maintain peace.”They say we should not talk about who we are voting for on election day, especially not at a polling station,” said 44-year-old Jonathan Akrong.

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