Ruling party favoured in Namibia vote

Governing SWAPO expected to retain dominance in elections for new president and parliament.

    Voting has closed in parliamentary and presidential elections in the southern African nation of Namibia, and is expected to deliver a comfortable win for the ruling party, which has been in power since independence in 1990.

    About 1.2 million Namibians, about half the population, were eligible to vote in Friday's elections at several thousand polling stations, which are using electronic voting machines for the first time, instead of the old ballot paper system.

    Sixteen political parties and nine presidential candidates were in the race; final results were expected within 24 hours of the 9pm local time (1900 GMT) close of voting.

    The presidential candidate of the ruling SWAPO party is Hage Geingob, the incumbent prime minister, who campaigned for independence decades ago at the UN.

    If elected, he would succeed President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is stepping down after serving two five-year terms.

    Reports say SWAPO is expected to dominate the vote, extending its 24-year dominance, Al Jazeera's Tania Page, reporting from Winhoek, said.

    Namibia enjoys political stability and benefits from major diamond and uranium reserves as well as revenue from tourists drawn to its stark landscapes.

    Geingob has acknowledged Namibia still has high poverty and lacks adequate health facilities.

    Geingob would be the first president from the ethnic Damara minority.

    Pohamba, the current president, belongs to the Ovambo, the biggest ethnic group in Namibia.

    SOURCE: AP


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