Namibia to elect new president and parliament

By admin
28 November 2014

About 1.2 million Namibians are to line up to vote for a new president and parliament on Friday morning.

The election is expected to be won by Prime Minister Hage Geingob in a sixth straight victory for the ruling South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) party.

Geingob (73) who has twice served as prime minister of the diamond and uranium-rich former German colony, faces eight challengers in the race to replace President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who has been in power since 2005 and is barred from running for a third term.

Swapo, which has ruled Namibia since independence in 1990, is expected to preserve its two-thirds majority in parliament.

Many young voters, frustrated with Swapo's failure to address widespread poverty in one of Africa's richest countries, are backing the opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance. Its 37-year-old chief, former minister McHenry Venaani, is running for president.

About 1200 fixed and 2700 mobile polling stations are set to close at 9pm. Because they are linked to an electronic system -- it will be Africa's first e-vote -- preliminary results are expected a few hours after the polls close.

More than 40 percent of Namibia's population live in poverty. In addition to diamond and uranium extraction, Namibia is also a major travel destination, drawing tourists to the Namib desert that runs along its coast.

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