Namibia’s ruling party coasts to win in local, regional elections

Namibia’s ruling party overwhelmingly won last weekend’s local and regional elections, claiming 92% of constituencies in regional voting, officials announced late Monday.

The South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo), which has ruled Namibia since independence in 1990, won 98 out of 107 constituencies in the regional vote, state broadcaster Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) said.

The opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) took just one constituency, it said.

Quoting from official results obtained from the country’s electoral commission, the NBC said Swapo had also won majorities on 33 of the country’s 44 local authorities.

But the RDP, which was founded in 2007 and is the largest opposition party in parliament, made inroads in the local polls, obtaining seats in just over 50% of town councils.

“Our party is only three years old and these are our first regional and local elections,” Nic Kruger, the top RDP candidate, told AFP.

Kruger won the party’s only regional council seat, in the affluent eastern suburbs of the capital Windhoek, by a narrow 130-vote margin.

“The significance is that RDP took that council seat from Swapo,” he said.

The RDP, which won about 10% in legislative and presidential elections last year, claimed three of the 15 seats on the Windhoek city council, while SWAPO won 11 seats, one more than in 2004.

Low turnout
As in the previous local and regional polls in 1998 and 2004, when only about 50% of voters cast ballots, low turnout characterised the election.

This year 1,18-million voters were registered, but according to early returns only some 40% went to the polls in many constituencies. — Sapa-AFP

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