Ghana’s new President John Dramani Mahama has pledged to uphold stability following the death of his predecessor John Atta Mills.
Mr Mahama, 53, was sworn in several hours after the 68-year-old president died at a hospital in the capital, Accra.
The opposition has praised the swift transition to Mr Mahama, saying it showed Ghana was a mature democracy.
Mr Atta Mills, who suffered from throat cancer, had governed since 2009.
He had planned to run for a second term in elections in December.
The BBC’s Sammy Darko, in Accra, says Mr Mahama will now serve as president until the election, but it is unclear whether he will be the candidate of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) party.
Taking the oath at an emergency parliamentary session, Mr Mahama said he would govern for all Ghanaians.
“I wish Ghanaians to be assured that all is well,” Mr Mahama said.
“We are going to maintain the peace, unity and stability that Ghana is noted for.”
President Atta Mills came to power in 2009
Mr Mahama has declared a week of national mourning.
Opposition New Patriotic Party (NNP) presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo has suspended campaigning out of respect for Mr Atta Mills, our reporter says. Read more…
By Kwasi Kpodo
ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana has seen a smooth transition of power after the sudden death of its president, but as the nation mourns attention is already turning to who will replace him as the ruling party’s candidate in a December vote.
Vice-President John Dramini Mahama was sworn in hours after the announcement of the death through sudden illness on Tuesday of 68-year-old President John Atta Mills.
This ensured that the West African oil, gold and cocoa producer, a former British colony once known as the Gold Coast, avoided the kind of messy political transitions that have plagued other states in a coup-prone region.
Ghanaians congratulated themsleves on the seamless handover. Mahama, 53, a historian, former minister and communications expert, is expected to bring a steady hand to a fast-growing economy, one of Africa’s newest oil producers.
But questions over who will now step into Mills’ shoes as the candidate to keep his governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in power in December’s elections will inject some uncertainty into the political outlook.
Analysts say this could drive down the Ghanaian currency, which has lost about 17 percent against the dollar this year as the country’s oil-fuelled boom sucks in capital and consumer imports and drives up demand for dollars to pay for them.
Traders said the cedi was relatively stable on Wednesday at 1.9550/1.9600 to the greenback.
“Political disruption is likely to be internal and will focus on who is the NDC’s presidential nominee,” said Azim Datardina, Ghana analyst at Africa Risk Consulting. Read more…