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Ghana's opposition NPP challenges presidential results at Supreme Court

ACCRA, Dec. 29 — Ghana's main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday to challenge the validity of the presidential results of the recent elections.

Ghana's incumbent President John Dramani Mahama was declared winner of 2012 presidential polls with 50.7 percent vote by Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) Kwadwo Afari-Gyan on Dec. 9, while his closest challenger, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP, got 47. 7 percent.

But moments after the announcement of the results, the NPP said it had serious reservations about the validity of the Electoral Commissioner's results that, by the evidence, do not reflect the mandate of the required majority of the Ghanaian electorate.

The party believed the election results were rigged in favor of incumbent President Mahama who they claimed colluded with some officials of the EC to manipulate the results.

The legal team of the party filed the suit number J1/6/13 at the Registry of the Supreme Court Friday morning.

The petitioners are three Ghanaian citizens, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NPP presidential candidate in the election; Mahamudu Bawumia, the running-mate; and Jake Otanka Obetsebi- Lamptey, chairman of the NPP.

The respondents to the petition are the president-elect, John Dramani Mahama, the person, according to the Rules of the Court, "whose election is challenged by the petition"; EC Chairman Kwadwo Afari- Gyan; and the EC, whose conduct is the subject of the complaint in the petition.

The case was filed in the names of the three petitioners because the Ghanaian law requires that an election petition challenging the validity of the election of the President of the Republic should be mounted by a citizen.

Addressing a packed press conference after filing the case at the Supreme Court, Nana Akufo-Addo said the NPP, through the petitioners in the case, is seeking to deepen Ghana's democracy by strengthening the institutions that are mandated by the constitution to superintend the electoral process.

"The Justices of the Supreme Court will take up their responsibilities and by the time they make their pronouncements we expect that Ghana would be a stronger and more credible democracy, " he said.

He said members of the NPP are not revolutionaries seeking to destabilize Ghana.

"But we do seek to ensure that the will of the Ghanaian people is upheld, and we do seek to uphold the sanctity of the ballot through peaceful, legitimate means," said Akufo-Addo, who is a former minister of foreign affairs and regional integration under the president Kufuor-led administration.

Journalists who had earlier on Thursday waited in vain at the Supreme Court premises for the NPP to file its suit returned on Friday and waited till after mid-day for the party's legal team to complete the filing process.

Ghana's Supreme Court is the final arbiter in electoral disputes and would be expected to empanel and set a firm date for the hearing of the case which is seen as yet another test case for Ghana's democratic credentials.

Meanwhile, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) said they were well prepared to defend the victory of President Mahama in court.

"We are ready for them" said Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, George Lawson, indicating that the ruling party has no problem with anybody going to court to challenge the credibility of the polls.

Speaking to Xinhua via telephone, Lawson wondered, as per the claims by the NPP how the president could collude with EC officials in all 26 000 polling stations across the country to manipulate figures in his favor.

"These are just baseless allegations being made by the NPP with nothing concrete to support them," he stressed.

President Mahama is expected to be sworn into office on Jan. 7, 2013. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/RSM

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