Botswana votes in its 10th democratic elections

2009-10-16 12:37

Botswana is voting in parliamentary elections widely expected to return President Ian Khama’s ruling party to power in the diamond-rich nation seen as Africa’s most successful democracy.

The poll is the most challenging yet to the Botswana Democratic Party, in power since independence in 1966.

Voting in Botswana was expected to be typically peaceful.

“We have not received any complaints of intimidation or whatsoever from any of the political parties,” said Francisco Madeira, head of the 88-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission.

Independent Electoral Commission spokesperson Oscar Maroba said all polling stations had opened on time and “we haven’t had any serious hiccups”.

In north-west Gaborone, Malebogo Morakaladi stood at the back of a queue of about 50 people reading the latest Dan Brown novel while her husband Leonard flipped through his own book.

“It is a good way to pass the time,” she said, adding that this election had been the most exciting in recent years.

“We saw a lot more debates and people have been a lot more vocal.”

Otsweletse Moupo of the main opposition Botswana National Front hopes to capitalise on dissatisfaction with infighting in the ruling party and socio-economic problems.

“We have struck a responsive chord in the population. We are confident, maybe not of winning, but of doing relatively well,” Moupo said after voting in Gaborone.

Khama cast his vote in his home village of Serowe in central Botswana. The 56-year-old son of Botswana’s founding father and former defence force chief, faces his first election after taking over from his retired predecessor last April.

  • Around 725 000 people have registered to vote at 2 288 polling stations around the country.
  • Seven political parties and 15 independent candidates are contesting the country’s 57 constituencies – translating into 57 parliamentary seats with an additional four lawmakers appointed by the president.
  • The winning party needs 29 seats to name their president.

Results are expected tomorrow. – Sapa-AFP

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