Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - This year's Presidential and Parliamentary elections will begin officially on Saturday, December 4, with special voting by people who would be on duty during the December 7 polls. The Electoral Commission (EC) has arranged for members of the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Prisons, Prisons and Customs, Excise and Preventive Services, journalists, EC officials and staff of essential services to cast their ballots.
Special polling stations have been mapped out by the EC for the exercise and voting would start 0700 hours.
As has been the practice, the ballot boxes for the Special Voting, would be sealed and counted after the General Election. There are four presidential and 952 parliamentary candidates contesting the Election 2004.
President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is standing on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is seeking re-election.
He is being challenged by Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr George Aguddey of the Convention People's Party (CPP) and Dr Edward Mahama, representing the Grand Coalition comprising the People's National Convention (PNC), EGLE Party and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).
Eight parties and independent candidates are contesting the parliamentary election. The parties are the NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC, Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE), National Reform Party (NRC), Democratic People's Party (DPP) and GCPP.
Statistics made available to the Ghana News Agency by the EC indicates that NPP is contesting in 226 seats while the NDC is contesting 229 seats.
The CPP is contesting 173 seats, PNC 125, DPP and EGLE 30 seats each, GCPP 10 seats and NRP five seats.