By David Amanor
BBC Focus on Africa Magazine October - December 2008
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John Atta Mills won the National Democratic Congress party ticket by an overwhelming 81 per cent to run for president, despite having challenged and lost twice to John Kufuor – in 2000 and 2004.
He served as vice-president to Jerry Rawlings between 1997 and January 2001 and created a stir by saying that if elected he would consult with the former president.
At a glance
Party: National Democratic Congress (NDC)
Home Town: Ekumfi Otuam, Central Region
Executive posts: Vice-president 1997-2000
This time around he has distanced himself from Rawlings, even drawing criticism from his former boss for being too gentle with the ruling NPP.
In contrast to Nana Akufo-Addo's NPP advertising boards, Atta Mills began his campaign with modest-sized signboards bearing the slogan "I Believe in Ghana".
He describes himself as a social democrat, leaning broadly on independence leader Kwame Nkrumah's idea of social welfare, while attempting a more inclusive and less polarising political platform than both Nkrumah and Rawlings.
He studied law in Ghana and took a doctorate in taxation and economic development in the UK.
"The Prof", as he is known, has pursued a long academic career and is also a member of several organisations such as the Tax Review Commission.
As vice-president, he was also head of the government’s Economic Management Team responsible for overseeing the introduction of Value Added Tax and the Ghana Education Trust Fund.
Married with one child, he is a keen hockey player, at one time a member of the national team, and likes swimming.
He is a former chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association, National Sports Council of Ghana and Black Stars Management Committee.
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