(Reuters) - Voting opened Friday in the final constituency in Ghana’s presidential run-off despite a boycott by the ruling party, which is trailing narrowly in the election and tried to have the ballot postponed.
John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is narrowly ahead of Nana Akufo-Addo, of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), after voting last Sunday in Ghana’s 229 other constituencies.
The winner will succeed NPP President John Kufuor, who is due to stand down on January 7 after serving the maximum permitted two elected four-year terms.
Here are brief details about the two contenders.
The 64-year-old, British-schooled barrister and economics graduate is standing for Kufuor’s ruling NPP, of which he is a founding member.
Akufo-Addo, a member of parliament who served in Kufuor’s government as attorney general and foreign minister, is the son of former Ghanaian President Edward Akufo-Addo and an Akan from the Akyem royal family in Ghana’s Eastern region.
He was educated at Lancing College, a boarding school in Sussex, England, and was later called to the English bar and also worked as a lawyer in France.
Married with five children, he lists jazz, highlife music and cricket among his hobbies.
Akufo-Addo’s running partner is Mahamudu Bawumiah, 45, until recently deputy governor of the central bank and a son of a former chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) which regulates the important cocoa sector in Ghana, the world’s second biggest grower after neighbouring Ivory Coast.
Opposition NDC candidate John Atta Mills is standing for president for the third time after losing twice to Kufuor. Mills, also 64, is a tax law lecturer and was deputy to former President Jerry Rawlings during his final term.
Fiery former coup-leader Rawlings stood down after elections in 2000 after two elected terms under the democratic constitution he himself had introduced, but Mills, his chosen successor, lost the election.
Mills is Akan, hailing from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central region. He studied law both at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and as a Fulbright scholar at Stanford Law School in the United States.
Mills was national tax commissioner under Rawlings before being promoted to the vice-presidency.
He is a keen swimmer and hockey player and once played for the national team. He is married and has a 19-year-old son.
Mills’s running mate is northern-born John Mahama, a member of parliament who was minister of communications under Rawlings.