Ghana Parliament Hung Again After Opposition Wins By-Election

(Bloomberg) -- Ghana’s opposition retained its seat in a by-election resulting in a hung parliament, which may stymie efforts by the ruling party to enact laws needed to meet the conditions of a $3 billion lifeline from the International Monetary Fund.

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The National Democratic Congress’s James Gyakye Quayson won Assin North, near the central coast of Ghana, securing 57.56% of the total votes, more than a month after a court ruled that he be removed as a member of parliament as he was not qualified to contest the 2020 general elections because he had dual citizenship. He has renounced his Canadian citizenship.

His nearest rival Charles Opoku of the governing New Patriotic Party got 42.15% of the vote and Enyonam Sefenu of the Liberal Party of Ghana 0.29%, Serebour Quarcoo, director of elections at the nation’s electoral commission, declared at the end of the vote.

The NDC now has 137 of the legislature’s 275 seats, the same as the NPP, with the final seat belonging to an NPP-leaning independent member.

A hung parliament will make it difficult for President Nana Akufo-Addo to act decisively to revive the economy and reduce its debt to gross domestic product ratio to 55% by 2028 from 71.2% of GDP at the end of December under the IMF program.

Ghana embarked on a debt restructuring in December to qualify for the program after its finances deteriorated due to spending pressures from a power crisis, a sweeping banking sector cleanup, the Covid-19 pandemic and fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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