* Contender Nana Akufo-Addo has "serious reservations" about
* Says party will decide response on Tuesday
* Local observers support results as announced
By Kwasi Kpodo and Richard Valdmanis
ACCRA, Dec 10 Newly elected Ghanaian President
John Dramani Mahama on Monday urged his defeated political
opponents to join him "as partners" to improve the West African
state, as his chief rival threatened to launch a court battle
over the poll results.
Mahama was declared winner of the Dec. 7 election, which was
widely seen as a test of whether country - one of the fastest
growing economies in Africa - can maintain its reputation as a
pillar of democracy in a troubled region.
"I wish to welcome my fellow candidates to join me now as
partners in the projects of nation-building and of creating a
better Ghana," Mahama said in a victory speech to cheering
crowds at a field in the capital Accra.
"We have come too far on this journey to weigh ourselves
down with pettiness, intolerance and negativity."
Ghana's electoral commission said on Sunday Mahama, who
replaced former president John Atta Mills after his death in
July, had won 50.7 percent of the ballots cast, enough to avoid
a run-off against his main rival Nana Akufo-Addo.
The West African nation's non-partisan Coalition of Domestic
Election Observers (CODEO), which deployed more than 4,000 poll
watchers, said the vote had been generally free and fair.
But Akufo-Addo said on Monday his party would take a
decision on Tuesday on whether to challenge the results, which
he said were manipulated by electoral workers.
"We have serious reservations about the counting and the
declaration of results," Akufo-Addo told Reuters in his office
at his residence in Accra.
"If we are going to challenge the results, the main question
is; do we have enough evidence to suggest that, materially, the
evidence will have affected the outcome?"
"The obvious option is to go and challenge the results in
the courts. The other option is to forego it and make your case
to the country," Akufo-Addo said.
Akufo-Addo called for calm among his supporters, saying
leaders of his conservative-leaning New Patriotic Party would
meet on Tuesday to decide the party's response.
On the wall of his office is a portrait of his father Edward
Akufo-Addo, president from Aug. 1970 to Jan. 1972 before he was
deposed by a military coup. Outside, there was a dour atmosphere
among supporters milling about the yard, some yelling that the
election had been stolen.
A cliff-hanger election in 2008, in which Akufo-Addo lost by
less than 1 percent, pushed the country to the brink of chaos,
with disputes over results driving hundreds of people into the
streets with clubs and machetes.
Ghana's sprawling seaside capital Accra was bustling as
normal on Monday.
The cocoa and gold-producing nation, which also began
pumping oil in 2010, has had five peaceful and constitutional
transfers of power since its last coup in 1981.
Voting on Friday was fraught with delays after hundreds of
newly introduced electronic fingerprint readers failed, forcing
some polling stations to reopen on Saturday to clear the
But CODEO observers said their parallel tabulation of
results confirmed those declared by the electoral commission.
"The results of the 2012 presidential polls declared by the
Electoral Commission are generally an accurate reflection of how
Ghanaians voted in the December 7 polls," the group said in a
The African Union's current chairman, Benin President Thomas
Yayi Boni, visited Accra on Monday and congratulated Mahama on