Elections in Namibia

Elections in Namibia determine who holds public political offices in the country. Namibia is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic. It runs direct elections every five years for the position of the president and seats in the National Assembly, and every six years for the Regional Councils and the distribution of seats in local authorities. The National Council is elected indirectly by the constituency councillors of Namibia's 14 regions.

The current direct elections determining political positions are the 2019 Namibian general election for president and National Assembly, and the 2020 Namibian local and regional elections for Regional Councils and local authorities.

Electoral systemEdit

Namibia elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The Parliament is bicameral in nature. Until 2014 the National Assembly had 78 members of which 72 were elected by direct popular vote using the proportional representation and a maximum of 6 non-voting members are appointed by the president. The members are elected for a five-year term. Since then the number of elected seats to the National Assembly was increased to 96 to allow for wider representation of the population,[1] although the real reason behind it was the newly introduced gender equality system of the ruling party SWAPO. This system would have pushed several male members out of parliament.[2] The National Council of Namibia has 26 members, elected for a six-year term in double-seat constituencies (regions). Namibia is a democratic but one party dominant state with the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) in power.

Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. Upon independence of Namibia the territory inherited a populace divided along ethnic groups, and political parties representing these ethnicities. While this is also true for SWAPO which was founded to represent the Ovambo people, the ruling party has garnered national support due to its role in the fight for independence. Opposition parties have had little success in national elections, and their representation in the lower house has been dwindling steadily.[1]

Electronic votingEdit

The 2014 Namibian general election was the first in Africa to use electronic voting.[3] The electronic system was also used in the 2015 Namibian local and regional elections and in the 2019 general election. However, the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that Namibia purchased do not implement the Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). The Supreme Court of Namibia ruled in 2020 that without a paper trail, usage of the EVMs in elections is unconstitutional. Starting with the 2020 Namibian local and regional elections the voting process thus uses paper ballots again.[4]

Current ResultsEdit

PresidentEdit

Candidate Party Votes %
Hage Geingob SWAPO 464,703 56.3
Panduleni Itula Independent 242,657 29.4
McHenry Venaani Popular Democratic Movement 43,959 5.3
Bernadus Swartbooi Landless People's Movement 22,542 2.7
Apius Auchab United Democratic Front 22,115 2.7
Esther Muinjangue National Unity Democratic Organisation 12,039 1.5
Tangeni Iiyambo SWANU 5,959 0.7
Henk Mudge Republican Party 4,379 0.5
Mike Kavekotora Rally for Democracy and Progress 3,515 0.4
Ignatius Shixwameni All People's Party 3,304 0.4
Jan Mukwilongo Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters 1,026 0.1
Invalid/blank votes 0
Total 826,198 100
Registered voters/turnout 1,358,468 60.8
Source: ECN

National AssemblyEdit

Party Votes % Seats +/–
SWAPO 536,861 65.45 63 –14
Popular Democratic Movement 136,576 16.65 16 +11
Landless People's Movement 38,956 4.75 4 New
National Unity Democratic Organisation 16,066 1.96 2 0
All People's Party 14,664 1.79 2 0
United Democratic Front 14,644 1.79 2 0
Republican Party 14,546 1.77 2 +1
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters 13,580 1.66 2 +2
Rally for Democracy and Progress 8,953 1.09 1 –2
Christian Democratic Voice 5,841 0.71 1 +1
SWANU 5,330 0.65 1 0
Congress of Democrats 4,645 0.57 0 0
National Democratic Party 4,559 0.56 0 0
Workers Revolutionary Party 3,212 0.39 0 –2
National Patriotic Front 1,785 0.22 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 0
Total 820,227 100 96
Registered voters/turnout 1,358,468 60.4
Source: ECN

Regional electionsEdit

There are 121 constituency councillors to be elected. In the 2015 Namibian local and regional elections the party affiliations of the elected councillors were:

Party Seats Change
South West Africa People's Organization 112
National Unity Democratic Organisation 4
Popular Democratic Movement 2
United Democratic Front 1
United People's Movement 1
Independent politicians 1
Total 121
Source:[5]

Local electionEdit

Local elections determine the population of the village, town, and city councils and have a direct influence on who will become mayor, as this position is elected among all councillors. Contrary to the regional elections, local elections in Namibia are determined by party, not by individual. There were 57 local authorities to be elected.

Party Seats Change
South West Africa People's Organization 277
Popular Democratic Movement 41
United Democratic Front 21
Rally for Democracy and Progress 16
National Unity Democratic Organisation 11
All People's Party 4
United People's Movement 3
Civic Association of Henties Bay 1
KRA 1
Swakopmund Residents Association 1
Congress of Democrats 1
Rundu Concerned Citizens Association 1
Total 378
Source:[6]

HistoryEdit

Before Namibian independence the territory was known as South West Africa. All elections until 1978 were only for Whites,[7] but even thereafter several parties representing the indigenous population, among them SWAPO, were excluded.[8]

The first parliamentary elections were held in Namibia between 7 and 11 November 1989. These elections were for the Constituent Assembly of Namibia, which, upon independence in March 1990, became the National Assembly of Namibia. SWAPO won as expected, gaining 41 of the 72 seats, but not with the margin that was anticipated. Support for the opposition parties Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA, 21 seats) and United Democratic Front (UDF, 4 seats) was strong in the former bantustans including Hereroland and Damaraland.[9] Since then, election results of the opposition parties have been dwindling steadily. For instance the DTA gained 15 seats in 1994, 7 seats in 1999, and 4 seats in 2004. As of 2017 the state of the opposition has been described as "on the verge of collapsing".[1]

In 2019 Hage Geingob won the presidential election and received a second term as president. His percentage of votes gained, however, dropped significantly from 87% in 2014 to 56% in 2019. While rural areas predominantly supported Geingob, many urban centres voted for the independent candidate, Panduleni Itula, who received 29% of the overall votes. No other candidate achieved a two-digit result. SWAPO, yet again, won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, but closely missed the threshold for a two-thirds majority, which it held since 1994. Consequently, opposition parties also gained seats, most prominently the PDM, which obtained 16 seats in the National Assembly.[10] The PDM's 16.60% vote share is its best electoral performance since the 1994 election.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Iikela, Sakeus (24 August 2017). "Where is the opposition ... when Swapo is fighting itself?". The Namibian. pp. 6–7.
  2. ^ Namibia's 'zebra' politics could make it stand out from the global herd The Guardian, 8 July 2014
  3. ^ Wendell Roelf, "Namibia's ruling party seen winning Africa's first electronic vote", Reuters, 28 November 2014.
  4. ^ Iikela, Sakeus (23 September 2020). "ECN undecided on discarded EVMs". The Namibian. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Regional Council Election Results 2015". Electoral Commission of Namibia. 3 December 2015. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Local elections results". Electoral Commission of Namibia. 28 November 2015. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015.
  7. ^ Mudge, Dirk. The art of compromise: Constitution-making in Namibia (PDF). Konrad Adenauer Foundation. p. 126. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  8. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Chronology of Namibian History, 1978". klausdierks.com. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  9. ^ Wren, Christopher S (15 November 1989). "Namibia Rebel Group Wins Vote, But It Falls Short of Full Control". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Iikela, Sakeus (2 December 2019). "Reduced victory ... Swapo, Geingob drop votes". The Namibian. p. 1.

External linksEdit