Namibians head to polls in November amid economic crisis

FILE PHOTO: Hage Gottfried Geingob, president of Namibia, looks on during a session of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, September 5, 2019. REUTERS

Namibian president will be seeking his second and final term this coming November even as voters complain about the worst economic crisis since independence nearly 30 years ago.

FILE PHOTO: Namibia’s President Hage Geingob-Getty Images

Hage Geingob is the country’s third president and on 27 November he is widely expected to be returned with a reduced margin.

He is however facing opposition from nine other hopefuls including a member of his own SWAPO party, Panduleni Itula, who is running as an independent. The country will also elect 96 members of parliament.

SWAPO, the former liberation movement turned governing party, currently has 77 seats in parliament while its closest rival, the Popular Democratic Movement, has five.

Geingob, who served as the country’s first prime minister from 1990 to 2002 and between 2012 and 2015, won his first presidential election with 87% of the vote.

The southern African nation’s economy has contracted in the last two financial years. The Fitch ratings agency, the International Monetary Fund and the country’s central bank all expect a third year of contraction in 2019.

Analysts say Geingob’s administration has failed to decisively deal with corruption.

Namibia uses a majority system for presidential elections, in which the candidate with more than 50% of votes is declared the winner, and a proportional representation system for legislative elections.

Fourteen political parties will take part in this year’s election.

Namibia is planning to deploy electronic voting machines,this has however raised eyebrows among the opposition who say voting without a paper trail that can be audited in the event of an election dispute can spell doom.



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