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Ghana's ruling party says situation unsuitable for election
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Ghana's ruling party said on Thursday that the situation in the west district of Tain is not conductive for a fair election and the party would boycott the voting if it went ahead, according to agencies' reports.

Arthur Kennedy, spokesman for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was quoted as making the statement. The outcome in Tain will decide the result of the heated presidential election.

At a press conference on Tuesday evening in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, chairman of the Ghana Electoral Commission, said the results in the Ashanti and Volta areas have been disputed, and the Tain constituency area of Brong Ahaso region, where the poll was delayed, will vote on Friday.

He added that the results from the remaining 229 constituencies showed that Prof. John Atta-Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had a narrow lead over his rival New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Nana Akuffo-Addo.

After a marathon meeting of Ghana Electoral Commission, officials and leaders of the two parties that participated in last Sunday's presidential election run-off, the commission said the result could not be released until fresh polls are conducted in Tain constituency area, according to a report on the Nation newspaper.

Tain is a swing constituency. It has about 55,000 voters on the electoral register and, in the first round, about 32,000 votes were cast with Prof Atta-Mills obtaining 16,211. Akufo-Addo 14,935.

By the official result announced by the commission, Atta-Mills was in the lead by about 23,055 votes. If the same number of voters turns up at the polls on Friday, and given the existing pattern, it may be difficult for the NPP to upstage the NDC.

President John Kufuor had personally signed a statement appealing for calm.

International observers have given the poll a preliminary clean bill of health and urged both candidates to accept the results.

Some 12.5 million people were eligible to vote in the election - the fifth since Ghana's return to democracy in 1992.

(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)

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