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Vice-President Bawumia wins ruling party presidential ticket

With candidates chosen for two main parties, next year's election has started

The victory of Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia in the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP)'s presidential primaries on 4 November seemed assured with strong backing from the President and most of the cabinet. Yet Bawumia's win was smaller than expected.

NPP officials announced Bawumia won 61.4% of the votes ahead of the populist MP, Kennedy Agyapong with 37.4%. In the first round of voting back in August, Agyapong complained furiously that one of his agents had been chased out of a voting precinct (AC Vol 64 No 19, Bawumia leads race for NPP ticket).

In the second round there were reports of vote buying by both candidates from polling stations across the country. Anecdotal reports suggested that Bawumia's team were typically offering 450 cedis for a vote compared to Agyapong's team offering 300 cedis.

In next year's elections, Bawumia will face John Dramani Mahama, the National Democratic Congress leader and former President. Given the poor state of the economy and the rumbling debt crisis, Bawumia joins the race as the slight underdog despite NDC accusations that the Electoral Commission is biased towards the ruling party and has been guilty of voter suppression in the recent registration drive.

As Vice-President to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for two terms, Bawumia will have to work hard to exonerate himself from blame for the current crisis in which the government has written down much of its domestic debts and agreed a US$3 billion loan deal with the IMF.

Bawumia, former deputy governor of Ghana's central bank, was one of the architects of the Akufo-Addo administration's economic plans. His technocratic style sharply differentiates him from Mahama whose party is ahead in the polls at the moment.

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