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Jerry Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings (born 1947) is a longtime Ghanaian politician who served as the country's president twice. He has been called a "benevolent dictator."

Initially during his time in office, he committed his government to populist reforms such as socialist economics and anti-corruption measures. Former military dictators Acheampong, Afrifa and Akuffo were executed for various abuses during their respective terms. After about 4 months in office, Rawlings' junta handed power to the democratically-elected Hilla Limann.

After his second coup his policies became more centrist, as he began to advocate free-market reforms. However, the country's relative economic success came at a price: the Ghanaian government was attacked abroad for committing numerous abuses of human rights. Rawlings was re-elected in 1992 and 1996 in somewhat free and fair elections. He retired in 2000 and was succeeded by John Kufuor.