On 7 December, over 15 million Ghanaians are expected to take to the polls to vote in the country’s seventh general elections. Having become a multiparty state in the early 90s, Ghana is touted for its democratic maturity. However, issues exist that are part of the discussion about the upcoming elections. Some Ghanaians are concerned about the legitimacy of the polls, and there’ve been corruption allegations against the electoral commission.
The forthcoming presidential contest is expected to follow a similar trajectory as the 2012 polls, which were a tight race between incumbent President John Dramani Mahama and his main contender, Nana Akufo-Addo. Mahama has an unwavering support base in the northern regions, while Akufo-Addo enjoys a heavy backing in other parts of the country, including the capital, Accra.
As one of the few African countries that base their national elections on a two-round system, the contestation for the Ghanaian presidency will either be cut and dry or lead to a runoff vote. Voters are afforded the opportunity to choose their preferred candidate in a one-person, one-vote process. Under Ghana’s electoral system, a presidential candidate is required to get a minimum of 50% plus one vote to be declared the winner. Should none of the candidates meet this requirement in the first round of voting, a second round would take place between the two top candidates. Candidates who do not gain a set amount of votes in the initial round of elections are not included in the roster of contenders in the next round.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The presidential and parliamentary elections will take place in the face of high inflation, rising petrol prices, and regular power cuts. The candidates have been campaigning with this current situation in mind, pinning their messages on economic development and eradication of poverty.
The opposition has promised to turn the economy around, with the NPP’s Akufo-Addo stating: “If we do not make a focused, systematic effort to change the nature of our economy, moving away from this raw material producing economy into an industrial value-added economy, we are never going to address the issues of poverty.”