President of Ghana dies suddenly
July 24, 2012 4:17 PM Subscribe
posted by Etrigan (12 comments total)
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President John Atta Mills of Ghana died unexpectedly today
, with Vice President John Dramani Mahama taking the presidency.
The West African nation of Ghana (the second largest producer of cocoa and also a large miner of gold) has become a model for African democracy, with peaceful transitions of power since becoming a constitutional parliamentary republic in 1992. Its 2008 elections, which brought Mills to power and were not without controversy
despite being peaceful, were the subject of the award-winning documentary film An African Election
. Mills was a candidate for re-election, with the first round scheduled for December of this year, and his National Democratic Congress
party has called an emergency meeting to determine whether Mahama will replace him on the ballot. His opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, has suspended his campaign
until further notice.
Mills, 68, was a lawyer who also studied at the London School of Economics and Stanford University, then taught at the University of Ghana for 25 years. He stood as the NDC's vice-presidential candidate when former dictator Jerry Rawlings
ran for his second term as president in 1997, then ran to succeed him in 2001. He lost that race, and the next one, to John Kufuor of the NPP, but finally won the presidency in 2008. He led efforts to produce oil in Ghana
. He is the first Ghanaian head of state to die in office.