“I lost”

“I acknowledge the electoral commissioner’s declaration and congratulate Professor Mills.” These words are from Nana Akufo-Addo, who, according to the New York Times, has lost a run-off election for the presidency of Ghana by a very narrow margin. His acceptance of defeat may help Ghana avoid the type of violence produced by disputed election results in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and a variety of other countries in recent years.

There are, of course, circumstances in which the declared result is not fair and protest is justified. But nothing is more important to democracy than the normalization of peaceful transfer of power (Akufo-Addo’s party has held the presidency the past eight years). Here’s hoping this type of statement will be uttered many more times this year and into the future.

Update: Similar sentiment from Chris Blattman and Todd Moss.

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