Ghana’s President-elect, John Atta Mills, is to be sworn in after his cliff-hanger election victory.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate beat the ruling party’s Nana Akufo-Addo in a hotly contested poll by a margin of less than 0.5% of votes.

The incoming leader’s centre-right NDC has a slim parliamentary majority of 114 out of 230 seats, over the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 107.

President John Kufuor is standing down after serving the maximum two terms.

Mr Atta Mills is due to take office in the capital Accra in a ceremony expected to start at around 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

On the eve of the inauguration, President Kufuor showed his successor around his new home, the presidential residence officially known as Jubilee House.

Ghana’s incoming leader, who had lost two previous elections to Mr Kufuor, has pledged to be “a president for all”.

Mr Akufo-Addo won the first round but not by enough to avoid an inconclusive run-off in last month’s knife-edge polls.

Mr Atta Mills was finally declared the winner on Saturday after a re-run of voting in the rural constituency of Tain, which was boycotted by the NPP.

Despite allegations of multiple voting and intimidation from both sides, electoral officials found no evidence of foul play and monitors praised Ghana’s poll as a democratic example to others.

The stakes were raised further in the election by Ghana’s recent discovery of crude oil, with production due to start in late 2010.

Turnout was high for Ghana’s fifth set of polls since it embraced multi-party democracy in 1992.

The former British colony was the first African state to gain its independence in 1957.

A nation of 22 million people, it is the world’s second biggest cocoa grower and Africa’s number two gold miner.

Sources: BBCNews


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