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The BBC's Kwaku Sakyi-Addo
"Mr Kufuor won with the backing of five opposition candidates"
 real 28k

Ghanaian affairs analyst, Cameron Coudu
"He (Mr Kufuor) is a very tenacious guy"
 real 28k

Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 12:10 GMT
Historic win for Ghana challenger
John Kufuor with supporters during campaign
John Kufuor: Taking Ghana into a new era
Ghanaian opposition candidate John Kufuor is to become the country's next president after defeating Vice-President John Atta Mills.

The National Electoral Commission declared Mr Kufuor the winner on Saturday after getting results from all but one of the country's 200 constituencies in the second round of voting.


Ghana has demonstrated that democracy and its institutions continue to take root in Africa

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Mr Kufuor's victory marks the end of the 19-year era in which Ghanaian politics was dominated by charismatic former coup leader Jerry Rawlings, who stood down this year and endorsed Mr Mills's candidacy.

Thousands of people poured onto the streets to celebrate what is being hailed as a victory for democracy in a country where power has never changed hands by democratic means.

Congratulations

The National Electoral Commission said in a statement that Mr Kufuor had 56.73% of the vote - with 43.27% picked up by Mr Mills.

The president-elect's National People's Party (NPP) also defeated the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the parliamentary election, which took place at the same time as the first round of presidential voting.

John Atta Mills
Vice-President John Atta Mills: Conceded defeat

Mr Kufor said on Saturday that his main priority would be to work with the private sector to create the wealth needed to develop the country.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, he said he would focus on improving key sectors of health, education.

Mr Mills had already congratulated Mr Kufuor by telephone on Friday evening.

Sources close to Mr Kufuor's camp said the vice-president had had a warm and cordial chat with his opponent - despite the occasionally acrimonious undertones which marked the second round of voting.


Ghanaians had been sleeping on the same side of their face for 20 years - they wanted to roll over

BBC Accra correspondent Kwaku Sakyi Addo
"With these elections, Ghana has demonstrated that democracy and its institutions continue to take root in Africa," said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan - himself a Ghanaian.

"The international community should rejoice at this orderly and democratic transfer of power," Mr Annan said in a statement.

Verdict on Rawlings

Our correspondent in Accra, Kwaku Sakyi Addo, says that while Ghanaians were ready for a change, the election was also seen as a referendum on Mr Rawlings and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

But a Kufuor presidency is unlikely to take Ghana along a radically new path.

Before the election, political observers were already pointing out that there were no major differences between the two leading candidates either in politics or in public image - both have been criticised as being dull in comparison with the flamboyant Jerry Rawlings.

The vote went to a run-off after the Mr Kufuor established a clear lead in the first round earlier in December - 48% to Mr Mills's 41% - but failed to secure an outright majority.

The second round of voting saw Mr Kufuor widen the gap, as the five candidates who had been eliminated in the first round chose to endorse him rather than the vice-president.

In particular, Mr Mills lost ground in his south-eastern home area, and in the north where he had had a comfortable win in the initial poll.

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See also:

11 Dec 00 | Africa
Ghana votes for change
01 Dec 00 | Africa
Rawlings: The legacy
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