Ghana’s governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Monday voted overwhelmingly to endorse President John Dramani Mahama’s bid for a second term of office at elections next year.
Party members backed the 56-year-old to run by just over 95 percent in primary elections held on Saturday and Sunday.
Mahama thanked those who voted for him and defended his record in power, which has seen growth in the emerging west African nation slow, public debt spiral and the cedi currency depreciate.
“As a leader of the party, I believe not all members are pleased with some of my decisions,” he said, describing the last three years as a “challenge”.
But he added: “I feel humbled by the overwhelming endorsement I have received from the NDC and I accept the responsibility to lead the party to victory in 2016.”
Mahama, who stepped up from vice-president after John Atta Mills died in 2012 then won a mandate at the polls, went into the vote unopposed but still had to be endorsed in line with party rules.
He is set to face his beaten 2012 opponent Nana Akufo-Addo, 71, from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). No date has been set for the election.
Ghana has been seen as a stable democracy in the often turbulent world of African politics, after a succession of peaceful transitions of power and an economy built on cocoa, gold and oil.
But economic concerns have dominated Mahama’s time in office, with growth — which hit 14.0 percent in 2010 as oil began flowing — on a downward slope and just 4.0 percent this year.
Regular power cuts, which can see electricity cut for 24 hours at a time, have also hit businesses and the economy.
Finance Minister Seth Terkper this month predicted “brighter prospects ahead”, with the pace of public debt slowing and the government tryin