While Ghana's military-led "moral revolution" took a more menacing tone, the country's first election in a decade appeared today to be headed for a run-off.

In a atmosphere tainted with public floggings and the construction of a execution firing range, the still incomplete election returns showed that neither of the two leading candidates is likely to win the necessary 50 percent of the popular vote.

The military, which staged the June 4 revolution, continued, meanwhile, to expand its authority by ordering a shake-up of the country's police force and soldiers reportedly were extorting goods from merchants and harassing the minority Lebanese and Indian trading community.

The military revolutionary council, which took power following the coup, has promised to turn over control to a civilian government in three months.

The official return for Monday's election showed this afternoon that Killa Limann, 46, a political unknown, was leading veteran politician Victor Owusu, 55, by 513,684 to 431,548 votes. Limann's People's National Party had won 59 of the new parliament's 140 seats but still lacked a clear majority.

Owusu's Popular Front Party captured 40 seats, and the rest were distributed between four smaller parties.

A runoff election between Limann and Owusu is likely to be scheduled within three weeks. A projection of the final results by the Ghana News Agency forecast Limann holding between 65 to 70 seats, just short of a majority.

Ghanaians said the race has been affected by the recent coup and the resulting Draconian "house cleaning" measures against alleged embezzlers and profiteers.

The country's leading paper, The Daily Graphic, reported today that soldiers were roaming the countryside and forcing shopkeepers to sell goods "at ridiculously low prices." Their actions, it said, would not help the "tarnished image" of the armed forces, which have ruled here for the past seven years.

It also reported that Lebanese and Indian shopkeepers were being harrassed.

"Now there seems to be panic among them and many of them are leaving Ghana," it said.

Since the last election in 1969, Ghana's population of citizens 21 years old or younger has grown to half of the 11 million population. The voting age is 18.

Monday's election, catalysed by the coup of young officers and privates, seemed to several observers to be a rejection of established politicians for newer ones unmarred by allegations of corruption.

"Before the coup, Owusu would have won hands down," said Robert Quansah, a long-time observer of Ghanaian politics. "But he was tainted by the tacit support of [Gen. Frederick] Akuffo" and the deposed military government's policies, Quansah said.

Akuffo was overthrown by disgruntled junior officers led by air force Lt. Jerry Rawlings, 32.

Rawlings, who chairs the ruling 14-member revolutionary council, has said he will turn power over to the newly elected government after riding Ghana of corrupt senior military officers, businessmen, market women, and civil administrators. Those found guilty by "people's courts" will be short, he said.

Akuffo started the process of a return to civilian rule in January, but the junior officers were angered because he did not press charges against fellow senior officers who were accused of profiting from their positions as administrators during seven years of military rule.

Earlier Wednesday, Rawlings addressed officials of the civil administration, corporations, educational institutions, managers of commercial houses and traders in Sunyani, a town outside Accra.

"We have thrown overboard most of our moral and social values and in their places taken to greed, corruption, cheating, avarice and other forms of social vices which are fast ruining our society," Rawlings said.

Lt. W. A. Addo of the Sixth Infantry Battalion said 22 persons, including five women, have been arrested in the northern Ghanaian town of Tmale on charges of selling goods above the government-set control prices.

Addo said they would be tried by "people's courts" for economic crimes and if found guilty they would be shot by a firing squad.

Public canings of merchants accused of hoarding continued throughout Ghana as their homes were blown up by soldiers. Market women caught with hoarded goods were made to roll in filthy gutters to shame them and then carted off to be tried by "people's courts."