West African gold producer Ghana is preparing to elect a president on Dec. 7, in a race dubbed the “battle of two giants.”
Incumbent Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will face former president John Dramani Mahama, leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
It is the third time Akufo-Addo and Mahama will compete against each other for the highest office, with each previously having won one poll – Akufo-Addo in 2016 and Mahama in 2012.
Although 12 candidates are vying for the presidency, including two women, only Akufo-Addo and Mahama are said to have a chance of coming out victorious.
The electoral campaign has been dominated by Ghana’s economy, infrastructure development, education, corruption, and debt relief.
Akufo-Addo, 76, has been touting economic growth during his current four-year term in office as well as the streamlining of government services and implementation of free schooling for senior high school pupils.
Mahama, 62, has meanwhile stressed the many infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, he realised during his presidency, promising do invest more in this area if re-elected.
Political analysts of the University of Ghana in the capital, Accra, predict a slim win for Akufo-Addo in the December elections.
Polls have indicated voters prefer Akufo-Addo’s policy-driven approach to running the nation of 30 million people, the university’s head of the political science department, Kaakyire Frempong, told dpa.
A candidate needs to gain at least 50 per cent of votes to be elected in the first round.
Ghana’s roughly 17 million registered voters will also elect 275 legislators from 914 candidates on Dec. 7.
Akufo-Addo’s NPP is expected to once again gain the majority of seats in parliament.
Voting will take place at more than 33,000 polling stations between 7 am and 5 pm (0700 and 1700 GMT).
The electoral commission will announce results within 72 hours after the election.