Gold Coast legislative election, 1956

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A voter receives a ballot paper from a polling assistant at Kumbungu Polling Station in the Northern Territories.
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Elections for the Legislative Assembly were held in the Gold Coast (soon to become Ghana) on 17 July 1956. They were won by Kwame Nkrumah's Convention People's Party, which took 71 of the 104 seats.[1]

A new constitution, approved on 29 April 1954, established a cabinet composed of African ministers drawn from an all-African legislature chosen by direct election. In the elections that followed, the Convention People's Party won the majority of seats in the new Legislative Assembly.

Background[edit]

A new constitution, approved on 29 April 1954, established a cabinet composed of African ministers drawn from an all-African legislature chosen by direct election. In the elections that followed, the Convention People's Party won the majority of seats in the new Legislative Assembly. In May 1956, Prime Minister Nkrumah's government issued a white paper containing proposals for Gold Coast independence. The British Government stated it would agree to a firm date for independence if a reasonable majority for such a step were obtained in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly after a general election.

Results[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
Convention People's Party 398,141 57.1 71 –1
National Liberation Movement 145,657 20.9 12 New
Northern People's Party 72,440 10.4 15 0
Togoland Congress 20,352 2.9 2 –1
Muslim Association Party 11,111 1.6 1 0
Federation of Youth 10,745 1.5 1 New
Independents 38,811 5.6 2 –9
Invalid/blank votes
Total 697,257 100 104 0
Registered voters/turnout 1,392,874
Source: Nohlen et al.

Aftermath[edit]

After pro-independence parties won a convincing majority, the British government agreed to grant the colony independence. This happened on 6 March 1957, with the country renamed Ghana. Initially a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II as head of State, the country's democratic credentials were hampered by the Preventive Detention Act (1958). In 1960 a referendum resulted in the country becoming a republic with a presidential form of government, and in 1964 it became a one-party state. Nkrumah was eventually overthrown in 1966.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p435 ISBN 0-19-829645-2