Namibian PM, Swapo secure landslide victory

2014-12-01 21:26

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Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob has won the country’s presidential election, the Electoral Commission said today.

The ruling Swapo party secured a landslide win in national polls billed as the continent’s first e-vote.

Geingob (73) who ran on a platform of “peace, stability and prosperity”, becomes president-elect with a massive haul of 87% of the vote.

“I have the honour and privilege to declare Geingob... duly elected as the winner,” electoral commission chairwoman Nontemba Tjipueja announced.

In the race for the 96 seats in the legislature, Swapo took 80% of the vote in a turnout of 72% of registered voters.

Forged in the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) has won every election since Namibia’s independence in 1990.

Already an overpowering force in Namibian politics, the party managed to improve on the 2009 elections, when it received 75% of the vote.

Then, the official opposition Rally for Progress and Democracy (RPD) managed to pull double figures with just over 11% of the vote.

But they found themselves booted from second to third place this year with only 3.15% of the vote, according to figures on the official Electoral Commission website.

Taking their place as the strongest opposition in parliament is the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, with 4.8%.

About 1.2 million Namibians were eligible to cast their vote on Friday on nearly 4000 electronic voting machines across the vast desert nation.

Other African countries have run pilot or limited e-voting, but none have done so on this scale.

The African Union applauded the elections as free and fair.

Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, head of the AU election observer mission, on Sunday gave Namibia a thumbs up for conducting the elections in “a peaceful environment, free from violence and intimidation“.

But she suggested Namibia’s electoral commission “consider simplifying polling station procedures” and ensuring staff were trained in how the electronic voting machines worked.

Opposition parties complained that thousands of voters were turned away from polling stations Friday because of technical difficulties.

Observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also gave the vote their stamp of approval.

Opposition parties had launched an 11th-hour court challenge just days before the election to stop the electronic vote from going ahead, saying the use of the voting machines could facilitate vote rigging.

But the Windhoek High Court dismissed the application.

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