Voting in Ghana’s 2016 elections. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy in Ghana (public domain)

KEY FACTS
Freedom House Rating

Free
Government Type
Presidential Republic
Population
28.1 million
UPCOMING ELECTIONS
Local Elections
December 2023 (due)
Presidential and Parliamentary Elections
December 7, 2024 (due)
PAST ELECTIONS
Presidential and Parliamentary Elections
December 7, 2020
Local Elections
December 17, 2019

Ghana held presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7, 2020. In a close contest, President Nana Akufo-Addo from the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) won re-election with 51.6 percent of the vote, defeating former president John Mahama from the center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC). Although Ghana is one of the most stable democracies in the region, these elections saw some violence.

Political Context

Ghana is often cited as a success story for democratic transition. In that vein, the two main political parties, the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) and center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), have alternated stints in power since Ghana began holding multiparty elections. Moreover, although each party has bases of support in certain regions or ethnic groups, the parties define themselves by ideology and campaign on issues.

In the 2016 presidential polls, NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo defeated incumbent John Mahama from the NDC following a contentious campaign. Eleven parties competed in the parliamentary elections, but only the NPP and the NDC won seats, with the NPP winning a majority.

The 2020 presidential election was a rematch between Akufo-Addo and Mahama – their third consecutive match-up. Akufo-Addo won in a close contest.

Curated News and Analysis

BBC (December 9, 2020): Ghana election: Nana Akufo-Addo re-elected as president

AFP (December 9, 2020): Five dead in Ghana election violence as accusations fly

Francis Kokutse, AP (December 7, 2020): Ghana votes for president in test of country’s stability

Stacey Knott, Voice of America (December 7, 2020): Voters in Ghana Choose Between Familiar Faces 

Michael Lieber Cobb and Erik Plänitz, African Arguments (November 30, 2020): “Warning shots”: The steady rise of political violence in Ghana

Patrick Smith, The Africa Report (November 18, 2020): Ghana debates life of Jerry Rawlings ahead of critical elections

Rafiq Raji, CSIS (August 26, 2020): Covid-19 and Ghana’s December Elections

Al Jazeera (June 28, 2020): Ghana ruling party nominates President Akufo-Addo for re-election: Akufo-Addo from New Patriotic Party will contest against former President John Mahama for the third consecutive time.

Michael Gyekye, Democracy in Africa: (February 6, 2020): 2020 Ghana Elections – Six Things to Watch before December 2020

Reuters (February 27, 2019): Ghana’s ex-President Mahama nominated to contest 2020 election

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content, and their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Updated December 10, 2020

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