ACCRA Dec 7 Ghana is holding presidential and
parliamentary elections on Wednesday. Here are brief biographies
of the two main candidates:
PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
John Mahama's first term has been marked by a sharp slowdown
in economic growth, caused by spiking inflation, an unexpectedly
high budget deficit and a plunge in global prices for gold and
Mahama's opponents say his government mismanaged the
economy, wasting revenues from Ghana's natural resources. He
says Ghana's outlook is strong thanks to reforms to restore the
fiscal balance and new oil fields that will come onstream soon.
In the run-up to the election he has barnstormed the country
opening hospitals, roads, bridges and even a new stock exchange.
Mahama, 58, bills himself as a social democrat. He was vice
president but came to power in July 2012 when President John
Atta Mills died. That December, Mahama narrowly won a four-year
term in an election subjected to an eight-month court challenge.
His government received credit for supporting international
efforts to end an Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea and
Liberia that peaked in 2014 and killed more than 11,300 people.
Mahama is a Christian from the town of Bole in the
mainly-Muslim north of the country. He earned a post-graduate
degree in social psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences
in Moscow. He has also served as minister of communications.
NANA AKUFO-ADDO, NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY
Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, 72, narrowly lost
elections in 2008 and 2012 and some in his party say 2016 is his
last chance to win the presidency.
He pledges to turn around the economy quickly, creating jobs
and wealth. His campaign promises include giving each of Ghana's
275 constituencies $1 million a year if he wins power - a $1
Akufo-Addo has raised concerns over the voter register after
glitches with last week's early voting.
He qualified as a barrister in the UK and has had a long
legal career spanning Britain, France and Ghana, where he
championed human rights law and won credit for leading efforts
to decriminalise libel.
He served as foreign minister and attorney general in the
government of President John Kufuor. Akufo-Addo bills himself as
a conservative and a believer in free-market economics.
Akufo-Addo's late father was deposed as president in a coup
in 1972. Akufo-Addo is a member of a royal family from Akyem in
Eastern Region that is part of a system of traditional chiefs
that remains important in Ghanaian society.
(Writing by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and