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The BBC's Mark Doyle
"There is no doubt these elections were very democratic, very free"
 real 28k

Monday, 11 December, 2000, 19:51 GMT
Ghana: Uphill struggle for ruling party
Results displayed in Accra
The results were displayed in public in Accra
By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo in Accra

After the first round of the presidential election the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate John Kufuor has 48.40% and a lead of nearly 4% over Vice-President John Atta Mills of the ruling National Democratic Congress.

A snake isn't quite dead until you cut off its head, so let's cut it off

George Hagen
And with the run-off to take place soon, the jostling for power has already began.

However, it all appears to be heading in one direction.

Four out of five of the presidential candidates have publicly declared their support for Kufuor - and between them they garnered just under 7% of the vote.

George Hagan, presidential candidate for the Convention People's Party (CPP), in a radio interview on Monday, said: "People are asking for change, and we must support Kufuor to complete the change they have began," said

"A snake isn't quite dead until you cut off its head, so let's cut it off."

Dr Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC), who won nearly 3% of the vote, said on Monday: "I'm telling my supporters to vote for Kufuor. We just want the NDC out."

Charles Wereko-Brobbby of the United Ghana Movement (UGM) has made a similar public declaration.

Goosie dashes hopes

There was hope within the NDC that Goosie Tanoh and the NRP which broke away last year would make a prodigal return.

Voters queue at a polling station in Accra, Ghana
Voters appear to want a change
However the NRP was the first to concede to being beaten and reach out to Kufuor.

However, what party leaders say and what voters eventually do may differ.

But, says Professor Mike Ocquaye, a political analyst and lecturer at the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana.

"Those who voted for the losing candidates were also voting for change otherwise they would've voted for Mills. He forecasts that more rather than fewer of those voters would vote for Kufuor.

NDC woes

Even NDC party officials acknowledge that they have an uphill task as they are starting out as the underdogs.

NDC candidate, Vice President John Atta Mills
John Atta-Mills: Still making confident noises
Already, there are indications of finger-pointing as to how the party's woes may have been caused.

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister for Education, said on Ghana Television's "Talking Point" panel discussion on Sunday that it was "time for some of the faces in the party to step aside or step back for new voices to be heard.

"If we intend to carry on like we have previously, putting up people who¿re not particularly well-suited for certain positions, then we might as well just give up the ghost."

He did not name names.

"There's going to be fight for the soul of the party," said a senior official on Monday who declined to be named.

Many ordinary people calling in to radio talk programmes say that the NDC's strategy of putting the highlight on President Jerry Rawlings at its rallies created the impression that he was the candidate. In effect, Mills was overshadowed.

In the parliamentary poll, Spio-Garbrah says it was a miscalculation on the part of the party not to hold primaries in the constituencies to enable grassroots members to elect their own candidates.

Still, the NDC is confident of overcoming the odds, and has predicted a Mills victory in the run-off. Says Alhaji Huudu Yahaya: "the NPP coulndn't finish a 100-metre race; they stopped at 80 metres, we will pass them."

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11 Dec 00 | Africa
Ghana votes for change
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