The Electoral Commission of Ghana on Friday declared opposition candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo the winner of Wednesday's presidential election.
Mr. Akufo-Addo, who ran on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ticket, secured 5,716,026 votes over incumbent President John Mahama's 4,713,277 votes. While the opposition leader was projected to be the winner on Thursday, the Electoral Commission did not make the results official until Friday evening.
The 72-year-old Akufo-Addo ran a populist campaign calling for change, a message that resonated with Ghanaians unsatisfied with the four-year presidency of Mr. Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress. With a struggling national economy and energy sector, Mr. Mahama faced an uphill battle in his bid for reelection. Mr. Akufo-Addo, who called Mr. Mahama the most "incompetent" leader in the history of Ghana, promised to boost youth employment, improve education, and rid the government of corruption - steps he said would revitalize the fledgling economy.
President Mahama countered Mr. Akufo-Addo's populist message by dismissing his proposals - especially his "one village, one dam; one district, one factory" policy - as wishful thinking. The president argued that the country was heading in the right direction under his leadership and pleaded with voters to allow him to finish what he had started, but the majority of Ghanaians were unconvinced, opting instead to usher in a new president.
Just minutes before the Electoral Commission announced the results, Mr. Mahama called Mr. Akufo-Addo to congratulate the president-elect and concede defeat. The president wished Mr. Akufo-Addo good luck and assured him that the transfer of power would be peaceful.
While there were a few hitches reported on election day, the election was conducted in a largely peaceful and free manner.
We declare Nana Akufo-Addo as President-Elect of our Ghana. God bless Ghana. Thank you.— Electoral Commission (@ECGhanaOfficial) December 9, 2016