Where Next for Ghana’s Democracy?

Ghana has emerged from challenging elections with its democratic credentials intact. But while the NDC may have won, many facets of the campaigns will shape the next four years.

Counting ballots in Ghana. Photograph by Literary Gal.

Ghana’s incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama, of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), secured a renewed mandate from Ghanaian voters in a closely contested general election over the weekend.

According to the Electoral Commission, Mahama, who took over after the untimely death of the John Atta Mills, secured 50.7% of valid votes against 47.7% for leading opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.

Several domestic and international observers commended Ghana for a “generally free and fair election” but the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has challenged the results and said it will take the matter to the courts, accusing the ruling government of colluding with electoral officers to fraudulently manipulate electoral figures.

This issue aside, the acrimony of some political campaigning, the complexities of the electoral process and system, and the underperformance of the Electoral Commission (EC) have presented challenges to the capacity of Ghana’s electoral system to adequately manage the increasingly complex nature of the country’s electoral democracy. Changing social and political features mean that Ghana’s respected democratic institutions must fight to maintain their legitimacy and cohesive role.

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