State Radio Confirms Rawlings Victory
ACCRA, Ghana (AP) _ The military officer who has led Ghana since staging a coup 11 years ago has been elected president, the state radio said. Opposition parties charged fraud.
Returns from 198 of 200 constituencies gave Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings 58.6 percent of Tuesday’s vote, compared with 30 percent for his main challenger, retired history professor Albert Adu Boahen. Three other candidates split the rest.
Dozens of angry demonstrators yelled and punched their firsts in the air in front of Boahen’s New Patriotic Party offices. Some carried long sticks.
But party leaders said they wanted to avoid a military crackdown.
″I’m telling them to stay calm,″ said party chairman Bernard Da Rocha. ″No useful purpose will be served by our sending them to be pummeled down. I don’t want any broken heads.″
Rawlings, a former fighter pilot who staged a coup in 1979 and another in December 1981, has been praised by international financial officials for implementing tough austerity measures that have brought the country 5 percent annual growth rates.
But critics say the country’s standard of living has declined, and charge Rawlings with jailing and torturing opponents.
The transition to this week’s multi-party elections, the first in 13 years, had been peaceful, unlike that in other African states where decades of dictatorial rule have ended in recent years.
Observers said Wednesday that the elections appeared fair.
A curfew was imposed Wednesday night in the central city of Kumasa after riots broke out when the results were released. Roadblocks were set up and the home of a Rawlings’ party official sacked.