In October 1998, Nana Akufo-Addo competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Agyekum Kufuor, the man who eventually won the presidential election in Ghana in December 2000 and assumed office as President of Ghana in 2001. Akufo-Addo was the chief campaigner for candidate Kufuor in the 2000 election and became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice of the Kufuor era.
Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government in July 2007 to contest for the position of presidential candidate of his party, the NPP, the then ruling party of Ghana, for the 2008 elections. Competing against 16 others, he won 48% of the votes in the first round of that election, but was given a unanimous endorsement in the second round, making him the party’s presidential candidate.
In the 7 December 2008 presidential race, he received, in the first round, more votes than John Atta Mills, the eventual winner. In the first round, Akufo-Addo received 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13% of the votes cast, placing him first, but not enough for the 50% needed for an outright victory. It was the best-ever performance for a first-time presidential candidate in the Fourth Republic. In the run-off, Mills received 4,521,032 votes, representing 50.23%, thus beating Akufo-Addo by the smallest margin in Ghana’s, and, indeed, in Africa’s political history. Akufo-Addo accepted the results without calling even for a recount, thereby helping to preserve the peace, freedom and stability of Ghana. Akufo-Addo again contested in the 2012 national elections against the NDC candidate, the late Mills’ successor as President, John Mahama, and lost. That election generated considerable controversy, and was finally decided by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5/4 decision in favour of John Mahama. Akufo-Addo is credited with helping to preserve the peace of the country by the statesmanlike manner in which he accepted the adverse verdict of the Court, at a time of high tension in the country.
In March 2014, Akufo-Addo announced his decision to seek his party’s nomination for the third time ahead of the 2016 election. He secured an unprecedented, landslide victory of 94.35% of the votes in the party’s presidential primary in October, 2014, in a contest of 7 competitors. Akufo-Addo also took time off to serve as Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African elections in 2014, building on his reputation as Ghana's Former Foreign Minister.
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