Botswana opposition confident

2014-10-24 16:04
Ian Khama. (File, AFP)

Ian Khama. (File, AFP)

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Gaborone - Voting was proceeding smoothly on Friday in parliamentary and presidential elections in Botswana, where the party that has ruled the southern African country for nearly 50 years was facing a tough challenge from the recently united opposition.

"I am thrilled to be part of this epic moment," Duma Boko, presidential candidate of the three-party alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), said after casting his vote.

Boko expressed confidence that support from young people would help the UDC defeat the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has won every election since the country's independence from Britain in 1966.

President Ian Khama, who has been in power since 2008, is facing Dumelang Saleshando of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), which is currently the third-largest in the 61-member parliament.

More than 820 000 people are registered to vote. There were no reports so far of incidents of violence.

Khama, the son of Botswana's first president Seretse Khama, is popular because of the stability of the diamond-based economy and generous social programmes.

But his government's widely praised record in fighting corruption and maintaining freedom of expression has begun to dim.

Many analysts expect power to remain with the BDP, which enjoys support especially in rural areas among Khama's majoritarian Tswana ethnic group.

The leader of the party that wins the elections is elected president by parliament.

Read more on:    bdp  |  ian khama  |  botswana  |  southern africa  |  botswana elections 2014

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