NAMIBIAN OPPOSITION REJECTS ELECTION RESULTS

Namibian opposition parties threw the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections into doubt on Friday, saying they would not accept the outcome of the vote.

Eight opposition parties said in a joint statement they would not accept the results of the elections because the elections contravened Namibia’s electoral laws.

Results of the November 27-28 vote released so far showed that Namibia’s ruling Swapo party was heading for a landslide election victory and a chance to score the two-thirds majority that gives it the power to change the constitution.

But the opposition parties, including a Swapo breakaway called the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), said they would not accept the results.

“Accepting these supposed elections outcomes will be tantamount to undermining democracy in Namibia,” the parties said.

They said they would launch legal action against the Electoral Commission of Namibia for contravening voting laws.

Initial results from 92 of the 107 constituencies show Swapo leading with 75 percent.

Swapo, the South West Africa People’s Organisation, is a former guerrilla movement that led the arid state to independence in 1990.
The electoral commission said the final count from 1.18 million registered voters would be made public later on Friday.

So far 674 724 votes have been counted. Swapo’s sternest political challenge yet comes from the RDP, which split from the ruling party in 2007, and holds 11 percent of the votes cast.

Namibia has enjoyed political stability and economic growth, but is struggling in the face of rising poverty, unemployment and widening cracks in its once highly regarded health-care and school systems, further exacerbated by the global recession.

Three African observer missions have declared the elections transparent, peaceful and fair, although some recommendations have been made to improve the counting process, media balance, voting and accuracy of the voters roll.

However local observers and opposition parties have widely criticised delays, also alleging voting and counting irregularities.

(www.thestar.org.za ; 20091204)

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