ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo faces a hung parliament after the opposition clinched the last undeclared seat on Friday, potentially complicating his ability to implement economic measures to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) each won 137 seats, which represents a loss of dozens of NPP seats. One constituency was won by an independent candidate.
Akufo-Addo won a second four-year term in the Dec. 7 vote, narrowly defeating the NDC’s presidential candidate, former president John Mahama. Mahama has said he will contest the results, which he called “fraudulent”.
Akufo-Addo has promised to implement a $17 billion programme to boost growth in West Africa’s second-largest economy. The pandemic has hit the price of oil and cocoa exports, resulting in the first quarterly contractions in nearly 40 years.
Kwesi Jonah, a research fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance, said he expected bipartisan cooperation on most of the president’s agenda but that the hung parliament could slow down some controversial items.
“Parliament tries to build consensus on about 90% of issues. The remaining 10% is what is going to be difficult,” he said.
The NDC still hopes it can eke out a majority. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, its director of elections, said on Friday that its own tallies showed it with at least 139 seats and that it was contesting several results.
The election was tainted by violence that killed at least five people, a rarity in a country that has a reputation as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.
(Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Aaron Ross and Giles Elgood)