Ghana’s main opposition party has clinched the remaining seat to be counted in the nation’s legislative elections, matching the ruling party’s tally and creating a hung parliament.
The National Democratic Congress won Sene West in the east of the country, giving it 137 of the legislature’s 275 seats, according to electoral commission figures.
The constituency result was delayed by a week because of a dispute involving the main parties, it said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party won re-election by defeating his longtime rival and predecessor, John Mahama of the NDC, in a December 7 vote.
His party’s mandate has been reduced from a 62.7% majority in parliament, with seats equally shared between the two main parties, and an NPP-leaning independent candidate holding the last seat.
A hung parliament will complicate Akufo-Addo’s efforts to act decisively to restore an economy hurt by the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. This could ultimately pose a serious challenge to Akufo-Addo’s second term.
The global health crisis has driven Ghana’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product to 71% in September, the highest in four years. Before the crisis, Africa’s biggest gold producer was already under financial pressure due to the costs of cleaning up the banking sector and energy-sector liabilities.
Even though the sole independent MP has pledged his support to the ruling party, the laws of the country require that a greater proportion of ministers be appointed from parliament.
This means a number of the ruling party MPs doubling as ministers may not be in parliament at all time to push through, bills, proposals and contracts submitted for approval.
Experts have said that a hung parliament will ensure an effective oversight role of the legislature but could also stall government programs and policies especially if the opposition decides to frustrate the government.