Namibia votes in presidential election

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Voters are heading to the polls today in Namibia to elect a president and parliament The ruling South West Africa People's Organization is expected to win presidential and parliamentary elections, but a new opposition party is mounting a challenge.

Voters turned out in large numbers before dawn to cast their ballots. Local journalist John Grobler said many waited for hours to vote because of logistical problems. "Voting is slow in just about all the polling stations, but especially so at the polling stations where they don't have any laptop computers to verify the potential voters on the actual roll, which means they have to go to the physical paper. And that, of course, takes time," he said.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba is running for a second five-year term. His South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), which has governed Namibia since independence nearly twenty years ago, is expected to win a two-thirds majority in parliament.

However, SWAPO is being challenged by a new party, the Rally for Democracy and Progress. The RDP was formed two years ago after its leader, Hidipo Hamutenya, lost his bid to become SWAPO leader upon the retirement of Namibia's first president, Sam Nujoma.

Voting will continue for a second day on Saturday and preliminary results are expected sometime next week.