SWAPO Party wins fresh mandate in Namibia

SANF 19 no 53
“I have heard you.”

These were the words of President Hage Geingob of Namibia in reference to a reduced margin win in the presidential and parliamentary elections held on 27 November.

According to final results announced by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), President Geingob of the ruling SWAPO Party garnered 56 percent of the votes against 29 percent for his closest rival Panduleni Itula, a SWAPO Party member who ran for the presidency as an independent.

The president garnered 87 percent of the votes in the last election held in 2014.

“Last time I got 87 percent, but now I am getting 56 percent. That is what I got apparently, but I accept it.

“I wish to thank Namibians for re-electing me as their President. I am humbled and commit to serve the Namibian nation with more passion and utmost dedication, to bring tangible improvements in the lives of our citizens. I have heard you,” President Geingob said soon after the announcement of the final results by the ECN.

McHenry Venaani, leader of the main opposition party, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) – formerly called the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance – came third with five percent of the votes, while Bernadus Swartbooi of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) garnered three percent.

Esther Muinjangue of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) – the first woman to stand as a presidential candidate in the history of Namibia – garnered 1.4 percent of the national vote.

Namibia uses a majority system for presidential elections in which the candidate with more than 50 percent of the votes is declared the winner.

With regard to parliamentary elections, the SWAPO Party got 63 seats or 65.5 percent of the vote – a reduced margin win for the ruling party compared to the last elections when the party had 77 seats or 80 percent of the vote.

As a result of this, the SWAPO Party has for the first time since independence lost its two-thirds majority in parliament.

The National Assembly of Namibia is made up of 104 seats, and of these 96 are elected seats while eight are appointed by the President.

Namibia uses the Proportional Representation (PR) system for legislative elections.

Under the PR system, each political party submits a list of candidates and the number of seats that each party receives is proportional to its overall share of the national vote.

A total of 8,544 votes was set as the minimum number of votes needed to qualify for a seat in the National Assembly.

The PDM garnered 136,576 votes (16.6 percent of total) and, therefore, got 16 seats in parliament, while the LPM got four seats.

A total of five parties – the All People’s Party, the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters, NUDO, Republican Party of Namibia, and the United Democratic Front – got two seats each in parliament.

Four parties, namely the Christian Democratic Voice, the Rally for Democracy and Progress and the South West Africa National Union got one seat each.

Local, regional and international organizations who observed the elections, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM), said the polls were conducted in a peaceful and free atmosphere that “enabled voters to express themselves in a transparent manner.”

Head of the SEOM, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is Zimbabwean Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs said the ECN had generally followed the country’s electoral laws and the electoral system in the execution of its duties.

Furthermore, SEOM noted that most political parties showed respect for the country’s electoral laws and conducted their campaigns with due regard to the rule of law.

The 53-member SEOM observed the Namibia election at the invitation of the ECN in accordance with the Constitution and electoral law of Namibia.

It was also guided by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which encourage Member States to promote common political values and systems sardc.net

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