2019 Botswana general election

General elections were held in Botswana on 23 October 2019 to elect MPs and local government councillors.[1] Despite a high profile split in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in May 2019 when former President Ian Khama left the party and switched his support to the new Botswana Patriotic Front, the BDP's vote share increased to almost 53% as the party won 38 of the 57 elected seats in the National Assembly, a gain of one compared to the 2014 elections. The elections were the twelfth straight victory for the BDP.

2019 Botswana general election

← 2014 23 October 2019 2024 →

57 of the 65 seats in the National Assembly
29 seats needed for a majority
Registered925,478
Turnout84.15%Decrease 0.6pp
  First party Second party
  Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana.jpg
UDC
Leader Mokgweetsi Masisi Duma Boko
Party BDP UDC
Leader's seat Did not run[a] Gaborone Bonnington North
(defeated)
Last election 46.45%, 37 seats 30.01%, 17 seats
Seats won 38 15
Seat change Increase 1 Decrease 3[b]
Popular vote 406,561 277,071
Percentage 52.65% 35.88%
Swing Increase 6.2pp Increase 5.87pp

  Third party Fourth party
 
BPF
AP
Leader Biggie Butale Ndaba Gaolathe
Party BPF AP
Leader's seat Tati West
(defeated)
Gaborone Bonnington South
(defeated)
Last election
Seats won 3 1
Seat change New New
Popular vote 34,068 39,561
Percentage 4.41% 5.12%

2019 Botswana National Assembly election - Results by constituency (simple).svg
2019 Botswana National Assembly election - Results by constituency.svg

President before election

Mokgweetsi Masisi
BDP

Elected president

Mokgweetsi Masisi
BDP

BackgroundEdit

Following the 2014 elections, there were two opposing factions in parliament: the Umbrella for Democratic Change (an alliance of the Botswana National Front, the Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana People's Party), and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). In February 2017, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) also joined the Umbrella for Democratic Change, uniting all parliamentary opposition parties.[2] However, in October 2017, the Alliance for Progressives, led by Ndaba Gaolathe, broke away from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).[3] The BMD was expelled from the coalition in October 2018 after it refused to forgo contesting constituencies that had originally been allocated to it.[4][5]

On 1 April 2018, Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was sworn in as Botswana's fifth president, replacing Ian Khama. The BDP held its primary elections on 20 January and 25 August 2018 to select its candidates, with over 1,300 candidates running to be selected to contest the general elections.[6] Following a falling out with Masisi, Khama left the BDP in May 2019 and announced that he would campaign against his former party in support of the Botswana Patriotic Front.[7]

Electoral systemEdit

The 63 members of the National Assembly consisted of 57 MPs elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post, four members appointed by the governing party, and two ex-officio members (the President and the Attorney General).[8]

Voters were required to be citizens of Botswana and at least 18 years old, and have been resident in the country for at least 12 months prior to voter registration. People who were declared insane, held dual citizenship, were under a death sentence, had been convicted of an electoral offence or imprisoned for at least six months were not allowed to vote.[9] Candidates had to be citizens of Botswana, at least 21 years old, without an undischarged bankruptcy and be able to speak and read English sufficiently well to take part in parliamentary proceedings.[9]

Several proposed amendments to the Electoral Law, including the introduction of electronic voting and an increase in nomination fees, were dropped in September 2018.[10]

Election day and the two following days were declared public holidays.[11]

ResultsEdit

All opposition leaders lost their seats to the BDP.

 
PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Botswana Democratic Party406,56152.6538+1
Umbrella for Democratic Change277,07135.8815–3
Alliance for Progressives39,5615.121New
Botswana Patriotic Front34,0684.413New
Botswana Movement for Democracy2,0580.270–2
Real Alternative Party1450.020New
Independents12,6941.6400
Appointed and ex officio members8+2
Total772,158100.00650
Valid votes772,15899.21
Invalid/blank votes6,1850.79
Total votes778,343100.00
Registered voters/turnout925,47884.10
Source: IEC

AftermathEdit

African Union and SADC called the elections free and fair, but criticized the lack of indelible ink and translucent ballot boxes at the polling stations.[12]

In November 2019 Duma Boko claimed that there had been "massive electoral discrepancies" and stated that he planned to challenge the results in court.[13] The appeal was initially dismissed by the High Court in December, but Boko appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal in early January 2020.[14] However, in the full hearing in late January, the Court of Appeal dismissed the petitions on the basis that it did not have sufficient jurisdiction to hear them.[15]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ An incumbent president cannot contest or run for a National Assembly seat.
  2. ^ During the 2014–19 parliamentary term, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (2 seats) left the UDC, whilst the Botswana Congress Party (3 seats) joined the UDC, resulting in the UDC holding 18 seats)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ in May 2019 Archived 2020-03-04 at the Wayback Machine News 24, 31 August 2019
  2. ^ Boko unveils new UDC Archived 2020-01-01 at the Wayback Machine Weekend Post, 13 February 2017
  3. ^ Botswana: Alliance for Progressives Launches Botswana Daily News
  4. ^ UDC kicks out BMD, at last… Archived 2019-01-21 at the Wayback Machine Weekend Post, 29 October 2018
  5. ^ Botswana: Lowest levels of registration undermine elections APA News, 14 January 2019
  6. ^ Botswana: BDP, AP Hold Primary Elections Archived 2019-11-04 at the Wayback Machine Botswana Daily News
  7. ^ Khama officially quits BDP as new party is confirmed Archived 2019-09-05 at the Wayback Machine Sunday Standard, 26 May 2019
  8. ^ Botswana Archived 2019-11-25 at the Wayback Machine IFES
  9. ^ a b Electoral system Archived 2019-10-02 at the Wayback Machine IPU
  10. ^ Botswana - 2019 Election Global Security
  11. ^ Menzi Ndhlovu: Khama’s hand still rocks Botswana. Mail & Guardian, 17 October 2019.
  12. ^ https://freedomhouse.org/country/botswana/freedom-world/2020
  13. ^ MTHOKOZISI DUBE (November 1, 2019). "Botswana opposition leader questions election results, wants to challenge them court". IOL.
  14. ^ "Botswana opposition wins right to challenge election result - France 24". France 24. 8 January 2020. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  15. ^ Court of Appeal ends UDC petition case with dismissal Mmegi Online, 31 January 2020