Vatican News staff writer
Voting begins on Monday in Ghana where ballots are being cast to elect a president and members of the National Assembly.
This will be the West African nation’s eighth presidential and parliamentary elections since the country reintroduced multiparty democracy in 1992.
A total of twelve candidates are vying for the country’s number one office, including incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo who is seeking another four-year term in office, and ex-president John Dramani Mahama who ruled from 2012 – 2016.
Key issues that Ghana’s approximately 17 million eligible voters will be considering include education, the economy, corruption and healthcare.
The final results of the elections are expected to be announced later this week. The winner must secure more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.
Although Monday’s elections involve 12 political parties, political commentators say that the electoral campaign has been predominantly polarized between the National Patriotic Party (NPP) which has Nana Akufo-Addo as its candidate, and the National Democratic Congress’ (NPP) which has ex-president John Mahama.
This will be the third time they will be challenging each other in elections. Mahama won in the 2012 presidential elections while Akufo-Addo came into power in 2016.
Three of the twelve presidential candidates are women.
Covid-19 and the elections
Holding elections during this year marked with challenges stemming from the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis has not been without its complications for Ghana’s electoral body.
In the weeks preceding the elections, the pandemic changed the way campaigns were organized. In place of noisy, crowded rallies, political parties concentrated their campaign efforts on online campaigns through social media platforms and local television and radio stations.
For the elections on Monday, the Electoral Commission has planted so-called “Covid-19 ambassadors” at strategic points around polling stations to ensure that the electorate adheres to prescribed coronavirus preventive measures.
Ghana currently has 52, 274 confirmed coronavirus cases with 886 reported active cases and a little over 300 deaths.