Long queues as Namibians vote

2009-11-28 11:58
Windhoek - Polling stations in Namibia opened on Saturday for the country's second day of voting in national and presidential elections with long queues again in densely populated areas.

"Polls opened at 07:00 this morning and no problems were reported to me since then", Theo Mujoro, deputy operations director at the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) told AFP an hour after voting began.

Namibia, one of the last African nations to win independence, is voting in elections expected to return the long-ruling Swapo to power despite a tough challenge from a new breakaway party.

Some polling stations at the coast were allowed late on Friday to remain open past the deadline of 21:00 because queues were long. "This occurred at the port of Walvis Bay some 400 kilometres west of Windhoek last night," Mujoro confirmed.

Voting on the first day of the two-day election ran smoothly in most parts of the mainly desert nation, but was tarnished by the arrest of two polling officers who were found tampering with ballot boxes before the opening of the polls on Friday.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the successor to Namibia's founding father Sam Nujoma, is seeking a second term in office and is expected to see off a challenge from former foreign minister Hidipo Hamutenya.

Hamutenya launched the new RDP party two years ago after losing a bid to take over Swapo following the retirement of Nujoma in 2004.
The two parties are the biggest of 12 putting forward candidates for the presidency, with the RDP claiming about 390 000 supporters from an estimated 1.1 million voters.

Hamutenya was a popular figure within Swapo and he hopes to tap into dissatisfaction with the ruling party.
The RDP does not expect to win, but hopes to become the main opposition party.

- SAPA
Read more on:    hifikepunye pohamba  |  namibia  |  southern africa  |  namibian elections
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