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10.12.2004 General News

Let us continue to maintain the peace- Kufuor

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Accra, Dec. 10, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor, expressing gratitude to Ghanaians for renewing his mandate, urged them to maintain the responsible conduct that had resulted in the peace and tranquillity, in the country.

He said it was the peace and tranquillity, that enabled the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to be re-elected to continue with its policies and programmes under the "Positive Change-Chapter Two".

President Kufuor was speaking in a 10-minute victory address, dedicated to those who contributed to his success, on Friday at a news conference held at his Airport residence in Accra.

"I accept the endorsement by Ghanaians with thanks and in humility. I thank God for being with me and the whole nation".

He acknowledged his contestants, the Electoral Commission, security agencies, development partners, the media, religious bodies, traditional authorities, civil society groups, the private sectors and many others, who contributed to make the elections a success.

He said with a single mind the nation had concluded a vigorously contested the general election, which despite some isolated unfortunate incidents had been free, fair and generally peaceful throughout the country.

President Kufuor, wearing a white jumper over light blue trousers and flanked by his wife Theresa and Vice President Aliu Mahama, said " in a clear and convincing voice, the electorate had renewed my mandate to lead Ghana for another four-year term".

The EC on Thursday declared President Kufuor winner of the Presidential Election held on Tuesday with 52.75 per cent of the votes cast.

President Kufuor said the re-election demonstrated the nation's commitment to democratic governance and its acceptance of the NPP Government's policies and programmes.

"Chapter Two of Positive Change would be more productive and be eventful and prosperous for our country," he said.

Answering questions on his government's relationship with the Volta Region, which gave him less votes than any other region, the President said the national cake would be shared fairly and evenly.

Though worried about the abysmal figures, the President however noted that, "he had upped his performance from a gain of about four per cent in the 2000 elections to about 16 per cent".

Additionally, the NPP had won its first seat, the Nkwanta North Constituency, he said.

The NPP, the President said, also made marked improvements in the Northern regions in both the presidential and parliamentary contests. He, however, recognized the poor showing in the three Tamale constituencies, which was attributed to the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis and expressed the hope that truth would soon prevail for justice to take its course.

The President also answered questions about his relationship with Former President Rawlings, enfranchising Ghanaians abroad to vote, his peace broker role in the Sub-Region, possibility of hiking petroleum prices, his agenda for women and many other issues.

A large number of Ministers of State, including those who lost the parliamentary contest, party supporters, family members and well-wishers were at the President's residence to participate in the victory festivity.

Others, mostly the youth gathered outside the house and cheered and danced in celebration.

Both the President and the Vice acknowledged and thanked Ghanaians them for their laudable support.

When he was asked why the Flagbearer of the NDC, Professor John Evans Atta Mills had not congratulated him, the President, said he understood his difficulty, saying, "it was not easy to deal with electoral loss".

President Kufuor lost the 1996 Presidential election to former President J. J. Rawlings.

Prof. Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) obtained 44.32 per cent of the total votes cast; Dr Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC) had 1.93 per cent while Mr George Aggudey of Convention People's Party (CPP), got one per cent. President Kufuor needed to win 50 per cent plus one of the total votes cast to win in accordance with the Constitution of Ghana. The results were from 225 out of the 230 constituencies in the country. In absolute terms, President Kufuor obtained 4,463,731 votes while Prof Mills got 3,750,830; Dr Mahama 163,648 and Mr Aggudey had 84,501 of the votes.

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the EC, announced that 8,615,306 votes were cast, while 183,997 ballots representing 2.14 per cent were rejected. The total valid votes cast were 8,462,710 were cast. The voter turn out was 83.2 per cent.

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