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Ghana's new president: Africa's symbol of a working democracy

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Ghana has been embraced as an example to the continent's fledgling democracies. Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, described Ghana as "a rare example of democracy at work in Africa." United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called Ghana "an admirable example."

That the election was peaceful and transparent is all the more remarkable because the stakes were so high – revenue from reserves of 1.8 billion barrels of oil is expected to flow in 2010 – and the margin of victory was wafer-thin. Nine million votes were cast yet, only 41,000 – less than half a percent – separated Mr. Mills of the center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC) from his opponent Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The winner was conciliatory in victory. "There is no NDC Ghana, there is no NPP Ghana .... There is one Ghana," Atta Mills told cheering supporters after official results were announced this past weekend. "I assure Ghanaians that I will be president for all," he added.

One Western diplomat in Accra pointed out that a close election does not have to be violent. "This is [more like] Florida, not Kenya," he said.

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