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COVID-19 precautions taken as polls open in Ghana’s general election

7 December 2020

Amid stringent health precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, voters formed orderly queues at polling stations in Ghana, as the general election got underway.

There were early indications of high voter turnout even before the polls opened at 7am, as people waited in line - a metre apart - to have their temperature taken, before exercising their right to choose who will be the country's next president, and those who will represent them in parliament.

To comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, there are 10,000 more polling stations than at the last general election in 2016, and at the entrance and exit to each polling booth voters are supplied with paper tissues and hand sanitiser.

The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former president of the East African Court of Justice, Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, was among the first observers to arrive at the Odododiodioo polling station in James Town Accra, where he observed voting procedures.

Speaking in Accra he said:

“I am pleased to see so many people, despite the pandemic, exercising their democratic right and very impressed with the precautions Ghana is taking to keep people safe as they cast their ballots.

"I assure all Ghanians that the Commonwealth stands in solidarity with them as they cast their votes.”

More than 17 million Ghanaians from 275 constituencies in 16 regions are expected to cast their ballots at 33,637 polling stations across the country. Officials are also assisting elderly and disabled voters to exercise the democratic rights.

Twenty-seven political parties and independents are contesting the election.

The president, elected to serve a four-year term based on a majority system, needs to secure at least 50 percent of the votes, plus one extra vote.

If no candidate secures such a majority, then the two leading candidates will contest a run-off election on 28 December.

The polls are due to close at 5pm Monday 7 December.