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Ghana opposition leader to stand in 2016

20 March 2014, 17:59

Accra - Ghana's opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, who narrowly lost the country's last two presidential polls, announced Thursday that he would again seek his party's nomination for the 2016 general election.

Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) secured 47.7% of the vote in the December 2012 election and launched a legal challenge to the results that gave President John Dramani Mahama the win with 50.7% support.

The Supreme Court upheld those results last year, after which Akufo-Addo spent six months in Britain before returning to Ghana earlier this month.

"With great humility, I can announce that when the party opens nominations sometime this year, I shall be ready, God willing, to contest for the position of NPP presidential candidate for the 2016 election," Akufo-Addo told a crowd of supporters on the grounds of his residence in the capital Accra.

NPP parliamentarians and party officers must vote to approve Akufo-Addo's candidacy before he will be considered the flag bearer.

Should he secure the NPP nomination, he will almost certainly square off against Mahama, a leader praised as charismatic by many analysts but whose job performance has been criticised, notably over his struggles to reign in public spending and control deficits.

NPP spokesman Perry Okudzeto told AFP that Akufo-Addo was the first person to declare his candidacy for the party's nomination.

Most stable democracy

Though most observers judged the 2012 contest to be free and fair, Akufo-Addo alleged widespread irregularities at polling stations across the country.

The Supreme Court rejected his petition after an eight-month legal battle that was closely watched in the nation of 25 million people.

The fallout from the disputed 2012 poll was seen as a key test for a nation widely regarded as West Africa's most stable democracy which boasts one of the world's fastest growing economies.

Akufo-Addo lost by less than one percentage point to ex-president John Atta Mills in the 2008 election.

Mills, who secured the presidency after losing in two previous polls, died in office five months before the 2012 election.



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